Cesar Azpilicueta confirms his reasons for staying at Barcelona

Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has opened up on his decision to reject a summer move to Barcelona.

The Spanish international was heavily linked with a switch to the Camp Nou as part of a major squad rebuild in Catalonia ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

However, the deal was complicated by Chelsea’s determination to retain him, due to his ongoing importance to the club.

The 32-year-old automatically triggered a one-year contract extension at the end of last season but the club were unable to ratify the deal due to their previous economic sanctions.

After weeks of talks with Barcelona, Azpilicueta opted against leaving Chelsea, with a new contract eventually signed to tie him to the West London giants until 2024.

“I’m really happy. It felt right to carry on my journey here in a new project and I am really looking forward to the new season”, as per reports from the Daily Mail.

“For a period I was a free agent and who knew what could have happened in that period?

“I decided to stay silent because there was already enough noise around me.

“My actions spoke for themselves. I stayed committed to the club, played the games, even though I didn’t know what was going to happen.

“The conversations were there [with Barcelona]. I felt it was the time to go back [to Spain].

“But then everything happened with this club and I wanted to stay committed to Chelsea.”

Azpilicueta has established as a firm Blues favourite since his arrival from Marseille in 2012 with an ever present role under a string of managers.

He is currently seventh on the club’s all time appearances list, with 477 in all competitions, with only Petr Cech, Frank Lampard and John Terry ahead of him in the Premier League era.

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