Azpilicueta explains why he turned down Barcelona move in favour of Chelsea stay
- Defender saw deal running down
- Return to Spain was speculated on
- Signed fresh terms at Stamford Bridge
WHAT HAPPENED? The 33-year-old defender appeared to be heading towards free agency at Stamford Bridge when his contract ran down in 2021-22, but regular football in west London led to fresh terms being tabled that will take him through to 2024. Azpilicueta believes staying in England was the right decision for him, despite attracting interest from back in his native Spain, with the club captain at Chelsea happy to be closing in on 500 appearances for the Blues.
WHAT THEY SAID: Azpilicueta has told Cadena Ser of remaining with Premier League heavyweights that now have new owners at the helm: “At Chelsea, if I had played less than 30 games and then I was already a free agent. It had never happened to me in my life. The new owners arrived and they showed me the desire to stay for me.”
The veteran full-back added on snubbing interest from Camp Nou: “London is my home and my children speak better English than Spanish. When I made the decision, I think Xavi understood it. If things are clear, they are understood.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Azpilicueta has been with Chelsea since 2012, claiming two Premier League titles, a Champions League crown, two Europa League triumphs and a Club World Cup success during his time with the Blues.
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Azpilicueta is currently on World Cup duty with Spain in Qatar and will be hoping to play some part in their last-16 encounter with Morocco on Tuesday.