For a fair while, our Twitter tagline used to be "Ivanovic is great, shut up". He'll always be great to us.
Alas, all great things must come to an end, and after nine years a Chelsea, Branislav Ivanovic left to join Zenit St. Petersburg during the winter transfer window. Chelsea confirmed the transfer earlier today, and led the tributes as well with several posts on the official website as well as the wonderful video you can see above.
There's also a short (but free!) video of Gary Cahill and Nemanja Matic saying goodbye on the official website, and that's well worth a watch as well. Ivanovic, who has been Vice-captain for the past year-and-a-half, influenced things not just on the pitch obviously. Matic calls him a "older brother" and a "great friend", for example.
John Terry said goodbye on Instagram with his awesome photo and caption, also pointing out just how big of a character Bane (or Branna as others called him) was in the dressing room.
Fifteenth all-time in appearances and with more goals to his name than defenders should be allowed to score -- many of them absolutely massive and decisive (vs. Napoli the one for me) -- Ivanovic has a constant presence in the Chelsea defense for most of past eight seasons. Whether that was at right back or center back, whether that was to the applause and appreciation of many or the derision of (unfortunately more than just) a few frustrated fans, we could always count on him.
Here's perhaps my favorite Ivanovic thing ever. Farewell, Bane.