The Chelsea Football Club celebrated the full 10 years since they signed Spaniard defender Cesar Azpilicueta from Marseille.
On 24 August 2012, the reigning European champions Chelsea completed the signing of Azpilicueta for an undisclosed fee, reported as £7 million.
Azpilicueta made his debut on 25 September 2012, starting in a 6–0 home win against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a League Cup tie.
Thomas Tuchel, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Thiago Silva are among the contributors as we relive some incredible moments, including that unforgettable night in Porto last year when the defender finally got his hands on the Champions League trophy.
‘I believe strongly in the power of captains,’ says Tuchel when reflecting on his man with the armband. ‘Azpi, like Frank Lampard and John Terry before, was the guy that it makes total sense plays in blue and is the captain. As a coach, you can only wish for captains like this.’
He played his first Premier League game the following week, coming on as a substitute for Branislav Ivanović in a 4–1 success over Norwich City, also at Stamford Bridge.
On 3 November 2012, Azpilicueta made his first league start, appearing against Swansea City in a 1–1 away draw.
He played 48 official contests in his first year with the Rafael Benítez-led side, including eight in the Blues’ victorious campaign in the UEFA Europa League.
In the final against Benfica, his 67th-minute handball led to Óscar Cardozo equalising through a penalty kick, in an eventual 2–1 win in Amsterdam.
Azpilicueta scored his first competitive goal for Chelsea on 29 October 2013, netting the first in a 2–0 victory at Arsenal in the fourth round of the League Cup.
Following the arrival of new manager José Mourinho, he began appearing regularly as a left-back, taking the place of longtime incumbent Ashley Cole.
Chelsea marked Cesar Azipilicueta’s milestone with a special film Watch the full-length film below:
Mourinho said of him: “Azpilicueta is the kind of player I like a lot. I think a team with 11 Azpilicuetas would probably win the competition (Champions League) because football is not just about pure talent”. At the end of the season, he was voted the club’s Players’ Player of the Year.
Before the start of the 2014–15 season, Cole was released and the club spent £15.8 million on Filipe Luís, but Azpilicueta began the season as first-choice left-back.
On 2 September 2014, he signed a new five-year contract with the club and on 18 October, he was sent off in the first half of a 2–1 win at Crystal Palace for a foul on Mile Jedinak.
Azpilicueta started as Chelsea won the League Cup on 1 March 2015. In the second half, he was injured in a collision with Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier, and had to leave the pitch for a bandage to be wrapped around his head.
The campaign ended with the additional conquest of the domestic league title, after a five-year wait.
On 2 August 2015, Azpilicueta featured for 69 minutes in the 1–0 2015 FA Community Shield loss to Arsenal.
Nineteen days later, he scored the team’s third goal in a 3–2 away win over West Bromwich Albion, for what was his first Premier League goal, and he netted again in a 2–2 draw in the reverse fixture on 13 January 2016.
Azpilicueta played every minute of the season as his team won the domestic league, and scored in a 4–3 home win against Watford after the title was already won.
In late July 2017, after the departure of John Terry, he was appointed vice-captain to Gary Cahill. On 12 September that year, he scored his first Champions League goal, in a 6–0 group stage home win against Qarabağ FK.
Azpilicueta signed a new deal in December 2018, lasting to 2022. After Cahill left Chelsea, he was named club captain ahead of the 2019–20 season; he had already worn the armband on the pitch while the Englishman was out of the team, including in the 2019 UEFA Europa League Final victory against Arsenal in Azerbaijan.
On 23 October, he marked his 350th Chelsea appearance with a 1–0 group stage away win against Ajax in the Champions League.
On 1 January 2020, Azpilicueta marked his 100th appearance as club captain with a goal and being named man of the match in the 1–1 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion.
On 1 August, during the 2–1 defeat to Arsenal in the 2020 FA Cup Final, Azpilicueta conceded a penalty and was later injured, leading to his substitution.
Azpilicueta became the 13th player in Chelsea’s history to make 400 appearances, when he featured against Manchester City on 3 January 2021.
On 23 May, the final matchday of the league season, he was sent off for appearing to strike Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish during a 1–2 defeat, but the three-game suspension was overturned on appeal.
Six days later, he captained the team to a 1–0 victory in the UEFA Champions League Final against Manchester City at the Estádio do Dragão, Porto, winning their first Champions League title in 9 years.
On 28 August 2021, Azpilicueta reached a milestone as he became the fourth Chelsea player to reach 300 Premier League appearances after John Terry (492), Frank Lampard (429) and Petr Čech (333). He started against Liverpool in a 1–1 draw.
On 8 October 2021, Azpilicueta was one of five Chelsea players included in the final 30-man shortlist for the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
On 12 February 2022, Azpilicueta lifted the trophy in the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup Final in their second FIFA Club World Cup Final, the first one being in 2012 when Chelsea lost to Corinthians.
With this trophy and the UEFA Super Cup secured shortly before, it meant he became the first and only Chelsea player to have won every major trophy at the club. On 4 August 2022, he signed a new contract with Chelsea until 2024.