- Cesar Azpilicueta
- Central defender, Left-back, Right-back
- Current Team
- Chelsea FC
- Premier League
- August 28, 1989
Cesar Azpilicueta is a Chelsea true veteran. The current Chelsea captain and leader, Azpi has over 400 appearances for Chelsea since his signing in August 2012. He is a versatile defender who has played in different positions for Chelsea. Whether as center-back, right-back, left-back, and wing-back, he is a consistent and reliable presence for his team.
Earlier in his career, Cesar Azpilicueta played as a center forward, and even as a central midfielder.
Starting his career at the Osasuna youth team, Cesar Azpilicueta will make his debut in April 2007 against Real Madrid. He will have a solid two seasons at Osasuna establishing himself as a right-back.
He joined the French team, Marseille in June 2010 on a four-year contract. He will spend two seasons at the Stade Vélodrome. He made 68 appearances gaining valuable Champions League experience.
Due to Marseille’s financial difficulty, they sold Azpilicueta to Chelsea in August 2012 for a fee in the region of €9 million. His first season saw him become an integral part of the Chelsea team. He played regularly under Rafael Benitez as the main right-back as Chelsea won the Europa League.
The arrival of Mourinho in the 2013/14 season saw game time reduced initially. Mourinho chose Ivanovic ahead of him. His fortunes will change when Ashley Cole got injured. He will be used as a left-back and he made the position his own. He will end the season as Chelsea Players’ Player of the Year.
Chelsea will win the Premier League at the end of the 2014/15 season, the first league title for Cesar Azpilicueta. He was a first-team regular despite the arrival of Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid.
His versatility means he played more than any other player in the 2015/16 season appearing in both full-back positions.
The arrival of Antonio Conte at the start of the 2016/17 season brought a new tactical plan. In his 3-4-3 formation, He was a right-sided center back and played all the league games as Chelsea won the league title. The following season saw him also make 52 appearances, the highest by any Chelsea player that season. Chelsea will win the FA Cup final against Manchester United.
Under Maurizio Sarri, Cesar Azpilicueta went back to the right-back position in Sarri’s 4-3-3 formation. He continued to be a reliable presence for the Chelsea team making 57 appearances as they won the Europa League.
Frank Lampard returns to the dugout and the departure of Gary Cahill saw Azpi become the team captain. He will play in a variety of positions from the right-back, left-back, or as a right-sided center-back.
Lampard later settled with the 4-3-3 formation. This means Cesar Azpilicueta played more in the right-back position. The emergence of Reece James limited his game time as Lampard kept more faith with the youngster. This pattern will continue in the 2020/21 season.
When Thomas Tuchel arrived midway through the 2020/21 season, he will revert back to 3-4-3 formation. This made Azpi regain his role as he was used in the right side of the central defense, sometimes as a right-back or wing-back. The coach rotated him with Reece James and rarely Hudson-Odoi.
In August 2021, he made his 300 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, becoming the fourth Chelsea player to reach this height.
Cesar Azpilicueta was instrumental as Chelsea won the Champions League against Manchester City, captaining the team and displaying his leadership quality.
At the international stage, Azpilicueta was part of the Spanish under-19 team that won the UEFA European Championship. He also won the European Under-21 Championship in 2011.
Despite being picked by Vicente del Bosque ahead of the 2010 World Cup, he will not make the final cut. He missed the UEFA Euro 2012 but went to the 2012 Summer Olympics, making a single appearance.
He will be selected for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 and 2018 World Cups, and THE 2020 UEFA Euro tournament.