Chelsea star explains why he decided to shun move to Barcelona

Photo: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta was set for a move to Barcelona this summer.

The 32-year-old was believed to have agreed personal terms with Barca and was pushing for a move to Spain.

However, Azpilicueta has now extended his stay with Chelsea until 2024 and got a pay hike in the process.

The Chelsea captain has revealed that the club offered to keep him and tasked him with helping out in the rebuilding process, on and off the pitch.

“Yes, the conversations were there [with Barcelona], all around the club,” Azpilicueta said, after he helped Chelsea to a 1-0 win at Everton on Saturday.

“After the Club World Cup, where I became the only player to ever win every trophy, [I felt] it was the time to go back to Spain. But then everything happened with this club. I wanted to stay committed. I never did anything against my club. We had private conversations where I said everything.

“I have never been in a transfer market situation in 10 years. It was different. The last time was Marseille and this time the contract situation made it different because I had this clause [to extend my deal] after a number of games.

“For a period I was a free agent and who knows what could have happened then? I decided to stay silent because there was already enough noise around me. I didn’t want to make it worse because I wanted to stay focused on my game.”

Azpilicueta admitted he’s happy with the new deal and the role he has been trusted to play under the new owners.

“I am really excited, otherwise [I wouldn’t sign],” he said. “The owners wanted me to stay here to lead the team both on and off the pitch. It’s a big thank-you to them. They were very honest and transparent from the first day. I felt a responsibility to stay here in my home.

“We have a new project, with new players and youngsters coming in. I feel ready to look forward.”