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César Azpilicueta feeling the most comfortable he’s ever felt at Chelsea

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Stoke City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

César Azpilicueta was perhaps the least heralded signing of the summer of 2012 arriving for a fairly unremarkable £8m from Olympique Marseille in the afterglow of Chelsea’s historic Champions League triumph, but over the years, he’s become as ingrained in the fabric of the club as another 2012-er, Eden Hazard. But while Hazard is flash and flair, Azpilicueta — Dave, as we like to call him — is hard work and reliability, eleven of whom in one squad would no doubt get Chelsea another Champions League trophy, as Mourinho’s famous saying hypothesized.

“I’ve had five managers and I’ve played with all of them [...] I’ve always tried to give everything to adapt to the league, the culture.”

“As long as I’m playing, I’m happy. I don’t mind changing position [but] I’ve now played a lot as the right-sided centre-back and that’s the position that comes easiest. When you’re a full-back, you’re more open, wider; now I have more presence in the area. I’m comfortable there, I have more possession, I’m more involved in bringing the ball out and I’m enjoying it.”

Left back, right back, center back, it hardly matters. César Azpilicueta is always there, always dependable, though it is a bit surprising to hear him so comfortable with the new role that Antonio Conte has given him in the 3-4-3.

“The manager asked me about the possibility of playing in a three. I had no worries because I knew he would work with us on it on the training ground and that I’d be able to adapt.”

In his interview with Sid Lowe of the Guardian, Azpilicueta throws plenty of praise Antonio Conte’s way — “from the first moment he has pushed himself to the limit” — while acknowledging the tremendous impact of N’Golo Kanté and talking about defensive line’s familiarity with each other as well as the unity present in the squad in general.

Most importantly, Dave talks about his love for Chelsea and London and how he and his family feel settled here. Sure, he’s flattered by the random rumors regarding Barcelona, but he emphasizes ‘we’ when talking about the Blues and such minor gestures go a long ways toward cementing his status as one of our fan favorites.

“Sometimes people say to me: ‘Ah, you’re not really Spanish, you’re British...’”

“It’s flattering to be linked to Barcelona: it means you’re playing well. I wasn’t hearing those sort of stories last season. That’s a consequence of us being top of the Premier League, things are going well.”

“My objective since I arrived was to grow as a player and a person. I’ve adapted to the city, to the country. I feel settled, I’m comfortable with the language, my family is very happy. Right now my only objective is to continue with Chelsea.”

-César Azpilicueta; source: Guardian