Antonio Conte recently lavished some pretty high praise on César Azpilicueta, calling him “one of the best in the world in this role”, referring to Azpilicueta’s newfound home on the right side of the back three. This is now the third position that Azpilicueta’s played regularly in his Chelsea career, arriving as a right back, converting to a left back, and now becoming a center back. Mourinho once joked that he could win the Champions League with 11 Azpilicuetas, and he was probably not wrong about that.
After another strong performance in Saturday’s win over Swansea City, Azpilicueta set his sights on achieving even bigger and better things with the club.
“I’m pleased for those words but to become a Chelsea legend you have to win trophies. I have won the Premier League, Europa League and League Cup – I don’t know how many it would take, but some players have won Champions League and other trophies, and you want to get up there with them.”
-César Azpilicueta; source: Metro
Nobody’s played more games or minutes for Chelsea this season than Azpilicueta and right now he’s on track to complete a John Terry-esque achievement of playing every single minute of every single Premier League game — JT’s record was remarkable due to his age and having been written off a couple seasons prior under Benitez; Azpi’s record would be remarkable purely for the fact that he’s a converted full back playing center back and other than losing a few headers, doing very very well at it. That’s certainly not a given, even for talented and versatile players: we once saw a similar experiment fail quite spectacularly with Azpi’s spiritual predecessor, Paulo Ferreira.
Dave recently passed 200 career games for Chelsea and is just one of four active players in the squad to have done so (JT, Cahill, Hazard the other three). He will turn 28 later this summer at which point he will have two more years left on his contract. I expect that situation to be remedied well before then with a new extension.
Given his performances, his attitude, his public personality, and his trophy haul, Azpilicueta certainly looks on course to secure his Chelsea legend.