Cesar Azpilicueta admits he was tempted to join Barcelona this summer because he wanted to return to Spain to take on a new challenge before deciding to sign a new contract at Chelsea. Barcelona had been trying to sign the Blues captain for some time and a move to Camp Nou seemed imminent.
However, the 32-year-old opted to commit his future to Chelsea by penning a contract that runs until 2024.
Did Azpilicueta want to join Barcelona?
Spain international Azpilicueta has been with Chelsea for 10 years and has won every major trophy available in that time, including two Premier League titles, the Champions League and Club World Cup among many others.
After conquering the world with Chelsea, Azpilicueta considered taking on a new challenge as he explained his flirtation with Barca.
"I’m always totally honest and the conversations were there. I thought after the Club World Cup, winning this trophy and being the first player at Chelsea to win every single trophy available, that perhaps it was time to go back to Spain, maybe for a new challenge," he told the club's website.
"But then everything happened, we had some really good conversations with the manager and the owners. I’m the captain of this club and I wanted to stay committed to Chelsea.
"The conversations we had will remain private, but we had some really good communications, we said what we thought and then I realised that I wanted to continue to help my club."
Azpilicueta excited by new Chelsea project
Azpilicueta says the UK government's sanctions on the club because of previous owner Roman Abramovich's ties to Russia president Vladimir Putin had an effect on his situation.
Chelsea were not able to hold talks over a new contract with the ex-Marseille star until a new owner came in, but he is happy he stuck around for the takeover by new co-owner Todd Boehly and is convinced he made the right decision by extending his stay.
"I’m really happy to sign the new contract," he said. "The last few months have been a little crazy but I’m really happy to extend my stay here. It’s a new project and I’m really looking forward to the season ahead.
"It was quite a rare situation in the sense that I was coming out of contract and then the club were sanctioned in March, so nothing could be done at that time with regards to speaking about an extension, so it was difficult.
"Everybody can speak a lot about your name [in the media] but the actions I think speak louder. I stayed committed to my club, I played the games as best as I could even though I didn’t know what was going to happen.
"Then the new ownership group arrived, we had a very honest conversation and I decided that I was right to stay home here at Chelsea."