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Chelsea captain opens up about uncertain six months: 'I always stayed committed'

Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea arrives at the stadium prior to the pre-season friendly between Chelsea and Udinese Calcio at Dacia Arena on July 29, 2022 in Udine, Italy
(Image credit: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea (opens in new tab) captain Cesar Azpilicueta has opened up about an uncertain six months, during which he seemed set to leave Stamford Bridge for Barcelona (opens in new tab).

The defender has ultimately pledged his future to the Blues, whose new owners – Todd Boehly and his consortium – were desperate for him to be a part of the club's plans moving forward.

Azpilicueta's commitment will have have been equally welcome to head coach Thomas Tuchel, who admitted last month that he'd been "a little bit" perturbed by Barca's apparent interest in the Spain international.

Back in February – following Chelsea's Club World Cup victory – Azpilicueta told the Blues that he wanted to move on.

But fast forward to the summer and the 32-year-old has signed a new contract until the end of the 2023-24 season – and, despite his desire for a fresh challenge elsewhere, he insists that his loyalty to the club never waivered.

Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea kisses the Champions League trophy following victory during the UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Estadio do Dragao on May 29, 2021 in Porto, Portugal

(Image credit: Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images)

In an interview with Sky Sports, Azpilicueta said (opens in new tab):

"I always stayed committed to the club; it's how I've been since day one.

"This is my home and I never took the selfish decision [to leave].

"After the Club World Cup, I shared my feelings [about leaving], it was never a decision about contract years or wages. I expressed my feelings and then everything changed with the ownership and sanctions [levelled against previous owner Roman Abramovich by the British government as part of its response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine (opens in new tab)].

Azpilicueta's ultimate decision to remain a Chelsea player takes him into an 11th campaign with the club he captained to Champions League glory in 2020-21.

He's now just 23 games away from making it 500 appearances for the Blues, a milestone that's only ever been reached by five players: Ron Harris, Peter Bonetti, John Terry, Frank Lampard and John Hollins.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...