End of an era as Ivanovic leaves Chelsea

Branislav Ivanovic has brought his nine-year Chelsea career to an end.

The Serbian defender has completed a move to Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg on a free transfer, signing a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Ivanovic made 376 appearances for the Blues, scoring 34 goals – the last of which came in his final appearance for the club, in Saturday’s FA Cup win over Brentford.

The 32-year-old was out of contract in the summer and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte confirmed he would allow Ivanovic to leave for more regular first-team football.

Ivanovic came to England in January 2008 from Lokomotiv Moscow but did not make his first appearance until September of that year, his debut coming against Portsmouth in the League Cup.

Ivanovic was notably downbeat after scoring against Brentford

He became a regular from the 2009-10 season, often at right-back but also with stints at centre-back, covering for injuries.

Ivanovic twice won the Premier League at Chelsea and also has three FA Cup winners medals.

He was suspended for the 2012 Champions League final win over Bayern Munich but a year later headed the winning goal in the Europa League final, deep into second-half stoppage time, in a 2–1 victory over Benfica.

However, his performances began to wane last season as Chelsea finished mid-table in the Premier League and struggled to break into Conte’s new-look three-man defence.