After much speculation over his future, the Blues skipper signed a new two-year contract extension last week, after the club had triggered a 12-month extension clause before his prior deal ran out amid the off-season.
At some point, it seemed more than certain that he would join Barcelona, with reports already claiming an agreement was in place with the Catalan giants and that the player was happy to return back to his native country.
In a recent interview, Azpilicueta has now revealed that the sanctions imposed against owner Roman Abramovich amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saw him have a change of heart and with a desire to stand by the team and the new ownership spearheaded by Todd Boehly.
Many were surprised when news broke about Azpilicueta’s two-year contract extension with Chelsea and the player has now detailed his thought process behind that decision, while admitting he came very close to leaving the Premier League giants.
“Yes the conversations were there [with Barcelona],” Azpilicueta was quoted by The Guardian. “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.
“But then everything happened with this club. I wanted to stay committed to the club. I never did anything against my club.
“We had private conversations where I said everything. We had players leaving, and I have never been in a transfer market situation in 10 years. It was different. For a period I was a free agent.
“Who knows what could have happened in that period. I decided to stay silent because I think there was already enough noise around me. I didn’t want to make it worse because I wanted to stay focused on my game.
Todd Boehly has made investments and new signings in his short time as Chelsea owner and Azpilicueta revealed a chat with the club’s new owners further convinced him to stay.
“I had a meeting with the new owners. They 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. My family are happy here. We have a new project with new players and youngsters coming in. I feel right and ready to look forward.”
Azpilicueta was in the starting lineup as Chelsea’s claimed their first win of the new Premier League season on Saturday, courtesy of a 1-0 victory against Everton.
Up next for the Blues is a crunch game against Tottenham, in an early test of their top four credentials, on Sunday.