Cesar Azpilicueta has delivered an emotional farewell message to Chelsea after confirming his exit.
The club captain leaves Chelsea after more than a decade in west London, a period which saw Azpilicueta twice win the Premier League and become the first player to win every major honour with the club, adding FA Cup, League Cup, Europa League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup success.
He made his 500th appearance for the club during his final season and departs as the overseas player with the most Chelsea appearances.
The Spaniard has addressed the fans in an emotional message after deciding to leave in search of a new challenge this summer, with the defender set to sign for Atletico Madrid.
“It’s difficult to express with words what I feel, it has been incredible. Thank you to everyone, it couldn’t happen without the help of a lot of people,” he told the club’s official website.
“What a journey. Those moments that I take with me will last forever. This is my home and I hope to see everyone back here one day. The love they have shown me every single time is something that I’m really proud of and hopefully we can keep this relationship forever.
“I’m leaving Chelsea after 11 years. I’ve been really proud of defending this badge on and off the pitch. It has been my life, to be fair here. It is a journey I cannot have imagined to be captain of this club and I feel like I gave everything. I love it.”
Azpilicueta delivered a final message to his Chelsea team-mates and the club’s fans and outlined his confidence that the Blues can return to success under Mauricio Pochettino.
“I would like to say so many things, but I’ll keep it short. I just want to say that every time you are part of this club, you give your best.
“That’s how I learned to be part of Chelsea and what the demand is. The demand is really high, the commitment to the club and to the fans even in tough moments, when maybe it is easier to go a different path.
“That is when you have to show the personality, the soul of the club, all together pushing in the same direction and I know that Chelsea will be back where it should be.”