Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has been backed to become the team’s coach at some point in the future. The Spaniard, who has been a staple in Chelsea’s defence over the past several years, was having another solid season in the team’s backline prior to the cessation of English football earlier this year.
The Blues’ current coach, Frank Lampard, spent most of his playing career at Stamford Bridge and remains the club’s highest-ever scorer. His path is similar to one taken by Roberto Di Matteo, who also played for the club and was the man in charge when they won the Champions League in 2012.
Such treks are hardly new to football. The likes of Pep Guardiola, Zinedine Zidane, and Gennaro Gattuso are examples of former players who became coaches at clubs they starred for, managing Barcelona, Real Madrid, and AC Milan respectively. Manchester United’s Norwegian boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also followed the model and fans hailing from said country can take advantage of some top deals at Casinotrollet.com.
Lampard, a fan favourite at the Bridge, has gotten off to a pretty decent start. He took up his first managerial role at Derby County and came close to leading the Championship outfit to the Premier League, but Chelsea is his first major project, one the Blues faithful will hope he can retain for many years to come.
It’s also very likely that the club’s former captain John Terry will one day fill the spot in the dugout as he’s now the assistant coach at Aston Villa. And Carlo Ancelotti, a former Blues steward now coaching at Everton, recently talked up his managerial prospects.
Apilicueta seems an obvious choice among current Blues players and he has been tipped to take up the reins at Stamford Bridge in time to come, with teammates Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi echoing such a sentiment in an interview with Sky Sports (H/T football.london).
“He’s the most professional player I’ve seen and he is a good captain,” Loftus-Cheek said. “I say he could go on to become a manager.”
Eden Hazard, a former teammate who left the Blues for Real last summer, shares a similar view.
“I think he talks a lot about football,” the Belgian star noted. “I think a manager (role) is more for defenders – or midfielders. Wingers or strikers are not good managers, apart from Zidane.”
Azpilicueta and Hazard both joined Chelsea in the summer of 2012, following the team’s Champions League triumph against Bayern Munich, and both players are now firmly lodged in the club’s history. Azpilicueta, dubbed Dave by Chelsea fans due to the difficulty presented by pronouncing his name, was not an immediate hit like Hazard but eventually managed to displace the legendary Ashley Cole as the team’s primary left-back, despite joining as a defender suited to the opposite flank.
Cesar’s gone on to make a mark in both positions, showing excellent composure at either end, and was also deployed as a central defender in the back three that helped the Blues win the Premier League title in 2017 under Antonio Conte.
Azpilicueta was part of the Chelsea squad who won the league title in 2015; he has added two Europa League titles and an FA Cup to his CV since joining the London side.
Lampard, who has been key to most of Chelsea’s success under owner Roman Abramovich, was hired as Maurizio Sarri’s replacement last summer and has kept the Blues in pole position to finish in the top four, providing the campaign is resurrected amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I wouldn’t have sat there and spoken too much with other players about it, and some of my former team-mates who have gone into management have surprised me,” Lampard told the club’s magazine recently. “I’ve read that some others are surprised I’ve done it, because of how I was as a player.
“I wasn’t always hugely vocal in the dressing room as vice-captain, I wasn’t expected to be, because of the attributes John [Terry] had and the slightly different ones I had.”
As for Azpilicueta, there is still a lot more he can accomplish in a Chelsea uniform. The 30-year-old has two years left on his current deal at the club and, despite a shaky start to the 2019/20 season, is still one of the most dependable full-backs in English football.