One by one, they all leave us. Branislav Ivanović has become the latest legend to leave Chelsea, as he joins Zenit St. Petersburg in the Russian Premier League on a free transfer. Ivanović had six months left on his contract, but just as in the case of Mikel, who joined Tianjin TEDA earlier this month, Chelsea allowed the club legend to leave without too much hassle at the negotiating table.
Branislav Ivanovic has today joined Zenit St Petersburg following a wonderful nine-year Chelsea career... https://t.co/Hkzcc98BRj— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 1, 2017
Ivanović had been tentatively linked with other Premier League teams as well, but he returns to the country and league where he first made his name instead. It would appear that they are quite excited to welcome him back.
Ivanović leaves with 376 appearances, 15th all-time and more wins, trophies, and goals than we have time to talk about at the moment. He had come under increasing criticism in recent seasons, but he remains arguably the greatest ever right back in Chelsea history.
Farewell, Branislav Ivanović and best of luck at Zenit! Perhaps we’ll meet again in the Champions League one day.