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Branislav Ivanovic isn't ready to be written off 'on the basis of an unplayed 90 minutes'

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Since the start of the 2009-10 season and the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti as manager, no player has played more for Chelsea Football Club than Branislav Ivanovic.  And it's not even close (data source: Transfermarkt).

Ivanovic 2009-16 29,615
Terry 2009-16 26,259
Cech 2009-15 24,467
Ramires 2010-16 18,356
A.Cole 2009-14 17,872
Cahill 2012-16 17,667
Lampard 2009-14 17,084
E.Hazard 2012-16 16,611
Mikel 2009-16 16,262
Azpilicueta 2012-16 15,877

That's Ivanovic well on top, ahead by more than 3000 minutes, or about a standard season's worth of minutes over second place John Terry.  Obviously, 2009 is a bit of an arbitrary cut-off point, but that's when Ivanovic was first given a consistent, prominent role in the team (thanks to Jose Bosingwa's injury), and the rest, as they say, is history.

Lately, that history's become more of a burden than a benefit in the eyes of many, and thus there was much rejoicing when Antonio Conte dropped Ivanovic for Saturday's match against Hull City.  Adopting a three-man backline, Conte opted to play Cesar Azpilicueta as the third center back over the more obvious and natural choice in the veteran Vice-captain.

How's a wounded bear to react?  By licking his wounds and getting back out there, of course!

"I was maximum ready and healthy for the match with Hull, but I never got the chance."

"I'll always put myself below the interests of the team, be that national side or club. When the team is successful and when they win, it's quickly forgotten when you make mistakes."

"It's been a while since I was a back-up, but I do not mind. I'll sit on the bench whenever the coach decides, and not for the first time in these eight years at Chelsea.I think that the status of players cannot be concluded on the basis of an unplayed 90 minutes. Today's football means that every day you have to fight and prove yourself."

"There is no past, no future, only the present. It is normal to be on the bench, especially in clubs that over and over again are going step further."

-Branislav Ivanovic; source: Mirror

Bane gets a bit philosophical there at the end, and the way I'm reading these quotes (and without the benefit of actual video), he seems somewhat resigned to what could very well be the beginning of the end of his Chelsea career.  That's not to say that he's giving up the fight, but perhaps he's seeing the writing on the wall.  His contract is expiring in the summer and it was far from guaranteed that he would get an extension even last season.

(Or maybe he's just lying in wait, lulling others into a false sense of security, ready to maul someone to get back what's his, like a good bear should.)