Senor Silverware – How Azpi Won The Lot
From the official Chelsea FC website:
Cesar Azpilicueta made club history on Saturday when he became the first Chelsea player to compete a full collection of major honours following our victory in the FIFA Club World Cup final.
Here’s a closer look at how our club captain amassed his haul of nine winners’ medals at Stamford Bridge over the past decade…
2013 – Europa League
In his first season with the Blues, Azpi was a near ever-present for us in the Europa League campaign, playing the full 90 minutes in all but one of our nine games in the competition.
He started in the final in Amsterdam and although Benfica equalised from a penalty awarded after the ball struck his arm, he put in a solid shift at right-back as Branislav Ivanovic’s stoppage-time winner secured a 2-1 win over the Portuguese giants.
2015 – League Cup and Premier League
The versatile Spaniard was switched from his natural right-back position to left-back under Jose Mourinho and so excelled in his new role that he remained our first-choice ahead of Filipe Luis, who arrived from Atletico Madrid in 2014.
Azpi started in 29 of 38 matches as we romped to our first Premier League title in five seasons and put in a fully-committed defensive display in the League Cup final victory against Tottenham Hotspur despite needing his head bandaged after a robust aerial challenge by Eric Dier in the second half.
2017 – Premier League
Azpi’s growing influence at the club was made clear in the 2016/17 season when he became just the fourth player after John Terry, Gary Pallister and Wes Morgan to play every minute of a club’s Premier League-winning campaign.
Under Antonio Conte, he made a seamless transition from left-back to a three-man defensive system and helped set a new club record as we went on a run of 13 consecutive victories and finished the season seven points clear of runners-up Tottenham Hotspur.
2018 – FA Cup
Playing in a back three with Gary Cahill and Antonio Rudiger, Azpi helped to effectively snuff out the threat of Manchester United when we beat the Red Devils 1-0 in the 2018 FA Cup final. His tidy defensive work and timely challenges frustrated United throughout the afternoon at Wembley as Chelsea won 1-0 through an Eden Hazard penalty.
2019 – Europa League
While Maurizio Sarri named Azpilicueta as captain for every Premier League game in the 2018/19 season, he wasn’t heavily involved in the early stages of our Europa League campaign, playing in only one group game.
However, he became more influential as the tournament progressed and played every minute of the quarter-finals and semi-finals before skippering the team in the final as we trounced Arsenal 4-1 in Baku
2021 – Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup
Having arrived at Chelsea in 2012, two months after our first Champions League triumph, Azpi finally got a chance to lift the trophy for the first time last year after a masterful display in defence in the 2021 final in Porto.
Playing in a back three once again, the 31-year-old hardly put a foot wrong against Manchester City as Kai Havertz’s goal brought the trophy back to the Bridge.
That win opened the door for the Blues to play in the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup and we duly added two more trophies to our cabinet, outlasting Villarreal in a penalty shoot-out in the Super Cup in Belfast before completing the trophy collection with a 2-1 victory over Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi
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