Premier League • England

Crucial Chelsea contract rebel provides reassuring but vague future update as decision looms

Samuel Bannister
Tottenham target Antonio Rudiger greeting Chelsea team-mate Cesar Azpilicueta 2021

Cesar Azpilicueta has reaffirmed his commitment to Chelsea, but has been unable to provide much more clarity on his contract situation.

Azpilicueta is one of Chelsea’s longest serving players, having represented the club since 2012. The former Marseille man has since made more than 450 appearances for the Blues. He currently serves as their captain.

But his future is uncertain due to his contract expiring at the end of the season. Indeed, he is one of three Chelsea defenders for whom that is the case. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are also in the same situation.

It would be a blow for Chelsea to lose any of them. But Azpilicueta is someone in particular they would want to keep. Recent reports suggested his teammates were surprised his future has not been sorted out.

They were followed by claims of Azpilicueta being a top target for Barcelona. Such a move could see him head back to La Liga for the first time in over a decade. It has been claimed that the 32-year-old feels that may give him the best chance of making the Spain squad for the 2022 World Cup.

Should he be certain of his wishes, he could even sign a pre-contract agreement now. Barcelona are not his only foreign admirers either; Atletico Madrid are considering taking him back to Spain after letting Kieran Trippier join Newcastle.

All options remain open for Azpilicueta, though. That includes a potential extension with Chelsea.

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Asked for an update on his future, the versatile defender has not given too much away. But he clearly still has ambitions he wants to achieve at Stamford Bridge.

In quotes carried on the club’s website, he said: “As I always said, I feel I have the trust and confidence of the club and now I am focused on every game.

“They are very tough games, and I am enjoying the moment. Eventually the moment will come. But I am fully focused on hopefully getting as many trophies as we can and then we will see.

“I cannot say anything more than that I am really committed and have a lot of things ahead in the coming months. And hopefully we can have a very good season.”

Azpilicueta addresses Lukaku future

Romelu Lukaku watches a Cesar Azpilicueta challenge

One of the bigger issues to face Chelsea recently was Romelu Lukaku’s admission that he hasn’t been fully happy since joining the club and wants to return to Inter Milan.

Lukaku has since apologised and returned to action. And his captain is keen to ensure the situation is behind them now.

“We would prefer not to have this kind of situation. But once it happened, we had to deal with it,” Azpilicueta said. “The manager of the club makes the decisions. He [Lukaku] apologised to the fans and to the manager and the club, the board and everybody.

“Now he is looking to have success with the team. I think he made it clear that for him, it was his dream since he was a boy to play for Chelsea. And now the most important thing is to work on the pitch the way he has today to help the team.”

Lukaku returned to west London in the summer. The European champions paid £97m for his services.

He has scored five top-flight goals from 13 appearances; Azpilicueta is adamant he will bag many more this term.

“The goals will come and hopefully everybody gets stronger and can move forward from here. Because I think we all have a very exciting four or five months ahead of us,” he added.

Azpilicueta also spoke fondly of head coach Thomas Tuchel in his interview. He highlighted how calm the German is while also remaining demanding of the squad.

The Spaniard is glad Tuchel has the same “will to win” as all his previous coaches. And he also shares the same hunger as his players. Therefore, they will be hoping to win more trophies together while Azpilicueta remains at the club.

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