Chelsea confirm departure of ‘warrior’ Azpilicueta

Chelsea have confirmed Cesar Azpilicueta’s departure after 11 years at the club.

The 33-year-old had a year remaining on his contract, which has been terminated by mutual consent.

He has returned to his native Spain to join Atletico Madrid.

The Blues stalwart was signed in 2012 and has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at the club, which included winning the Champions League in 2021.

His departure comes during a summer of change at Stamford Bridge in which several players have moved on.

Mason Mount on Wednesday completed his move to Manchester United, with N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Kai Havertz, Edouard Mendy, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kalidou Koulibaly having also recently left Chelsea.

In a a statement, Chelsea chairman Todd Boehley and co-owner Behdad Eghbali said: “Cesar leaves an everlasting mark at Chelsea, as a warrior, as a champion, and as loyal Chelsea legend.

“He has set the standards at the club for more than a decade and demonstrated to everyone what is required day in, day out to achieve success.

“Coaches and team-mates past and present have trusted him to lead by example as captain. He has done so immaculately on and off the pitch, something for which we are grateful.

“For that and so much more, Cesar will always be welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”