Celebrating Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s anniversary

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on August 14, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on August 14, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

Chelsea has gotten lucky through the years with some incredible club captains. John Terry, the Captain, Leader, Legend himself, is obviously the first name that comes to mind when discussing this topic. Players like Ron Harris and Dennis Wise have also carved out their spots in the club’s folklore. While history tends to favor players long after they’re gone, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a look at the current roster and marvel at one particular star. Thomas Tuchel’s side is littered with leaders in Thiago Silva, Jorginho, Romelu Lukaku and Mason Mount. However, there is one individual that sits a level above the rest for obvious reasons—Cesar Azpilicueta.

The one commonly known as “Dave” to many Chelsea fans celebrated his ninth anniversary with the club on Tuesday. He joined the Blues in 2012 from Marseille for a mere £7 million, undoubtedly beginning one of the best individual careers in the west London club’s history. Nevertheless, on such a special day, the humble club captain deserves high praise for his commitment and achievements during his time at Chelsea.

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Cesar Azpilicueta has already cemented his place in Chelsea history as one of the club’s greatest ever captains

Azpilicueta has not been captain for as long as those that came before him. Harris spent 14 years as the club skipper, Terry just a year less and Wise led the Blues for eight seasons. The Spaniard is heading into his third season as the official club captain, although the decline in minutes for Gary Cahill the previous seasons saw Azpilicueta named the de facto leader. It’s important to take into account that Terry and Azpilicueta’s stints at Chelsea overlap for five years. Further, Cahill had seniority over the captain in question by the time Terry departed. Regardless of his time with the armband, his accomplishments speak for themselves.

The 31-year-old has won almost everything there is to win in a blue shirt. Azpilicueta has won two Premier League titles, a Champions League, a UEFA Super Cup, two Europa Leagues, an FA Cup and a League Cup. He’ll look to complete his trophy case in December when Chelsea travels to the Club World Cup, where it finished as the runner-up in Azpilicueta’s maiden campaign. Before anybody gets technical about the Community Shield, it must be said that the Blues are not Arsenal or Spurs, they only really celebrate actual trophies.

On an individual level, Azpilicueta has become Chelsea’s jack of all trades. The captain has lined up in a number of different positions along the back line during his time in SW6. Different managers have preferred different formations, but there always seems to be one constant in every situation: Azpilicueta. He’s played left back, left wingback, centerback, right back and right wingback during his nine seasons at Chelsea. Jose Mourinho once famously stated that a team of 11 Azpilicueta’s could win the Champions League; this speaks to both his positional versatility and work ethic. Perhaps the most impressive part of it all is the ease in which Azpilicueta does all of this. He makes defending in the Premier League—no matter the position—look effortless.

Azpilicueta’s durability also deserves some recognition. He’s often referred to as an iron man because he seldom misses matches due to injury. He’s already cracked the club’s top 10 in terms of all-time appearances, overtaking legends like Eddie McCreadie, Kerry Dixon and Steve Clarke last season. Azpilicueta currently sits eighth on 432 total outings and is on pace to pass Wise this year. If his contract is extended beyond this season, he could end up surpassing Petr Cech in sixth, as well.

All of this speaks volumes as to the player and person Azpilicueta is. He’s a club and family man who plays and leads with the utmost class. Chelsea fans across the globe absolutely adore Azpilicueta and appreciate everything he’s done for the club. All of that being said, he’s not done yet. The Blues’ pursuit of Sevilla centerback Jules Kounde has seen fans call into question the skipper’s place in the starting XI. However, all he’s done his entire career is prove to doubters that they should not bet against him. Azpilicueta will surprise some folks this season as he continually makes it into the matchday squad—be it as a right wingback or centerback.

Regardless of his role going forward, it’s sometimes nice to stop and reminisce on how lucky we are as fans to have a captain as incredible as Azpilicueta. We are currently witnessing greatness. Happy anniversary, Dave. Here’s to many more!

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What is your favorite Azpilicueta moment from his first nine years with the club? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!