Chelsea boss Antonio Conte believes Cesar Azpilicueta is one of the best central defenders in the world.
The versatile 28-year-old has played 234 games since joining from Marseille in July 2012 and scored his sixth goal for the club in the 6-0 win over Qarabag in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Under Conte, Azpilicueta has become vital as one of three central defenders in the Italian’s preferred 3-4-3 system.
“Last season Azpi was one of the most important players,” Conte said. “In this position as a central defender he is one of the best in the world.
“He is very good with and without the ball. He’s a fantastic guy, he’s always positive, and during training sessions he works in a fantastic way. For a coach to have him is a dream.”
Azpilicueta was signed as a right-back and then switched to play at left-back during Jose Mourinho’s Premier League title-winning season of 2014-15.