Demba Ba has today (Friday) departed Chelsea Football Club, signing for Turkish club Besiktas.
The Senegalese striker leaves following a season-and-a-half spell with the Blues, having moved to Stamford Bridge from Newcastle United in January 2013.
He made a memorable debut in an FA Cup third-round tie at Southampton, the Blues running out 5-1 winners on the day after coming from behind, with Ba’s performance the catalyst. He drew us level shortly before half-time and, after Victor Moses and Branislav Ivanovic had put us in control, made it 4-1 in the second half when he finished well at the near post from an Eden Hazard cross.
Ba was ineligible to play in our Europa League campaign having already represented Newcastle earlier in the competition, but he featured regularly domestically and scored his first Premier League goal in a 2-2 draw against Southampton.
The highlight of his first season at the club was undoubtedly scoring the winning goal against Manchester United in an FA Cup sixth-round replay, a stunning volley.
Ba was also on target at Wembley, in the semi-final against Manchester City, although the tie was lost 2-1.
He started last season as one of three strikers at the club, along with Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto’o, and was handed his first start under Jose Mourinho in our 2-1 win against Aston Villa in August.
Ba was again chosen to lead the line when we went to Norwich City, with his physical presence causing the home defence problems as we ran out 3-1 winners.
He scored his first league goal of the season coming off the bench in our 3-1 home win over Southampton, who were beginning to dread the sight of him, and was also on target in Champions League matches against Schalke and Steaua Bucharest.
Used predominantly as an impact substitute during the first few months of 2014, including in the 1-0 win at Manchester City, Ba came off the bench to score a brace in our 4-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
He maintained his goalscoring form in the Champions League when he popped up with the late winner against Paris Saint-Germain in our Round of 16 clash to spark jubilant scenes inside Stamford Bridge.
The following weekend Ba was the hero once again when he raced on to a Nemanja Matic pass and scored the only goal of the game at Swansea.
His final goal for the club is one that will be remembered fondly by supporters for many years, after he capitalised on a Steven Gerrard mistake to fire us into the lead against Liverpool. The striker was a real handful throughout the game as we went on to secure a memorable 2-0 victory at Anfield.
His last appearance in a Chelsea shirt came in the penultimate game of the season when he played the full 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw against Norwich City.
The 29-year-old ends his time at the club having made 23 starts and 28 substitute appearances, scoring 14 goals.
Everybody at Chelsea Football Club would like to thank Demba for his service and wish him all the best for the future.