Chelsea fans have made a brave Cesar Azpiliceuta comparison after he was part of a Spanish side that fell just short of Nations League success after France’s comeback denied Luis Enrique his first major silverware of his tenure.
Azpilicueta, 32, nearly topped off the brilliant week with a trophy on the international stage after his shock but well deserved Ballon d’Or nomination.
Unfortunately for himself and fans of the Spanish national team, it wasn’t to be as Didier Deschamps’ side showed their comeback ability once again after falling behind to Mikel Oyarzabal’s low driven attempt which nestled into the far corner of the net.
The lead only lasted two minutes as Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema wrong-footed the Chelsea defender and curled his effort into the far top corner of Unai Simon’s net from the edge of the area to bring parity straight back into the game.
Azpilicueta was also involved in the winning goal, just not for his side as Theo Hernandez was able to get away from the aforementioned right-back in this game before playing in Mbappe who made his finish look so easy in the end.
Despite his fault in both goals, no one could deny the effort and determination the former Marseille man showed in this contest in Milan- a kind of aura that perfectly summed his nine-year Stamford Bridge stay.
Chelsea fans who watched the Nations League final from the comfort of their homes on TV recognised the formation which Enrique utilised in this game had the 32-year-old playing in a position that his younger self once thrived in.
One clip circulating around Reddit brought back the nostalgia to supporters of the west London club regarding what they already know about the quality of their versatile veteran defender.
It even led to some interesting comparisons being thrown around.
Here is the best of the reaction to the clip demonstrating Azpilicueta’s ability to drive the ball out from the back at a quick pace.
@xStealthxUk claimed: “Best RB in Chelsea history most consistent fullback iv ever seen and in top 3 Chelsea defenders ever imo with JT and Ashley.”
@ccombat43 replied: “I think Ivanovic is the best.”
@Pseudocaesar then weighed in: “He’s up there for sure. In terms of consistency, as we all know Azpi is second to none, solid 7-8/10 every time he puts on the shirt.
“Ivanovic however had a higher ceiling but a much steeper decline towards the end which I think a lot of people are remembering.
“At his best though he was frequently one of our best goal threats, and his shots from distance and heading ability were fantastic.
“Plus I will never forget Ivanovic’s goal against Napoli, or his winner in the Europa League final.”
@xStealthxUk then said: “Dave has been way more consistent than Ivan. Ivan was always a better CB to me and in Jose last stint where he just refused to play Dave Rb, he played him Lb to accommodate Ivan (probs due to height) our right-side attack was just baron as Ivan really stopped running forward at end of his chels career.
“The amount of times I was screaming at Ivan to push on and he just wouldn’t when there was 40 yards on clear grass ahead of him was crazy, ultimately it cost Jose his job cos he was so stubborn to actually play a real Lb (Filipe Luis just sitting on the bench was criminal ) and a Dave RB imo.
“Dave more consistent and somehow isnt slowing down , he might even be getting better going forwards now whereas with Brana it was the opposite.”
@tomrichards8464 then ended the debate on this specific matter between the two Champions League-winning defenders: “Ivanovic was great and I’d probably have my all time Chelsea XI play a back 5 to accommodate both of them, but if I have to pick one it’s Dave. 2015-2017 especially I think he was the best defender in the league, and playing even better than peak Ivanovic.”
@Hocojerry asked: “How Azpi only has 30ish caps for Spain literally blows my mind and makes mad.
“He is a rock-solid defender, a good contributing offensive player, and an outstanding leader. I’m so glad Luis Enrique finally started including Azpi on the squad.”
Finally, @nick70100 gave his five-word verdict on the clip: “I love him so much.”
Source by Football London