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A gracious farewell message from Matej Delač, Chelsea’s longest-serving player

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He’s off to Denmark

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

In the beginning, he could’t get a work permit. In the end, he needed move on. In the middle, a very long middle, Matej Delač became Chelsea’s longest-serving player and perhaps the most loaned one as well.

When John Terry went to Aston Villa last summer, Delac took on the mantle of most senior player with eight years of service, despite never having played a competitive minute for Chelsea. He made some preseason appearances, he trained with the senior team but he could never break through. And so he embarked on an epic nine-team loan career.

Back in April, Delač and Chelsea decided it was finally time to move on. A free transfer was arranged to AC Horsens of the Danish league, which has now gone through after his Chelsea contract expired on June 30.

On Sunday, his first day in eight years as a non-Chelsea player, he left a message that expressed gratitude, not bitterness, thanking the club for the “honor and privilege” of being a “part fo the Chelsea family” while making him not only a “better goalkeeper” but a “better man” as well.

Classy guy. And young, too, still just 25 despite all that experience. Good luck, Matej.

NB.: As noted on the retained/released lists Chelsea submitted to the Premier League in May, Delač was one of nine players released by the club at the end of the season. The contracts of Eduardo, Wallace, Jordan Houghton, Mitchell Beeney, Isaac Christie-Davies, Cole Dasilva, Renedi Masampu, and Tusahun Walters have now all expired as well. Good luck to them in whatever may come next!