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Media Watch: Azpilicueta on being esports team owner, Essien explains hasty departure for Madrid, Griezmann linked with Blues

In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta talks about his activities off the pitch and Michael Essien gives some insight into his loan move from Chelsea to Real Madrid in 2012.

These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.

Azpi opens up on esports venture

Cesar Azpilicueta has spoken to ESPN.com about being a part-owner of a FIFA 20 esports team, explaining how excited he is with the business venture.

The Blues captain, who has joined the likes of former Chelsea player-manager Ruud Gullit, Mesut Ozil, Gareth Bale, Ronaldinho and Antoine Griezmann in investing in esports, said he enjoyed the process of putting together his team, who are known as the Falcons.

‘It ticks so many boxes for me’ said Azpi, who teamed up with a couple of well-known FIFA esports players, Antonio Cacho and Jesus Rincon, to form the Falcons.

‘I didn't want to make this something with footballers, because in the end the esports industry has other big teams not related to football.

‘There is nothing guaranteed when you make investments. This is an adventure and there is risk with everything. It is more about the project and we got the people we wanted, which was very important.

‘We have a great structure where there are people working behind the scenes on everything, so that our players feel like they have people working for them, too. There is a manager, people working on social media, on Twitch, on content. It is far more than just having a player sitting behind a TV trying to win a game.’

The report revealed Azpilicueta communicates with the team daily through email and text messages but lets his two business partners run the day-to-day operations.

‘For me it is very important the team has the aim to keep getting the club higher and higher [in the rankings], and to keep improving,’ he added. ‘Now it's up to them to perform.’


Essien reveals rush to join Real Madrid

TalkSport has reported on how Michael Essien’s last-minute loan move to Real Madrid came about in 2012 with the Ghanaian missing the Super Cup so he could finalise the deal.

Essien travelled with the Chelsea squad to Monaco but didn’t make it to the game after he received a call from Jose Mourinho, who was then managing the Spanish club.

‘We had to change our plans because we were about to leave the hotel to the stadium to play Atletico Madrid,’ said Essien in an interview with GhanaWeb.

‘Real Madrid were doing their [negotiating] with my agent and I was in the bus as we were about to leave to the stadium. [My agent] said he had to send some fax to some people so I had to shout at the bus driver to stop like some mad man.

‘All my teammates were looking at me like: “Michael what’s going on?” The bus stopped and I went back to the hotel to wait for my agent. My agent came and sent the fax and thankfully everything got finalised on time.’

With the deal completed, Essien went to the stadium after the game to collect his belongings.

‘I joined my teammates on the pitch but some of them had heard the news that I was going to Madrid,’ he continued.

‘I explained to them that this deal came up and I had to return to the hotel to finish the paperwork. So, in coming back to pick my boots. I had to tell them goodbye.

‘After the [medals] ceremony, we went back to the dressing room where I properly wished them goodbye. I just took my shin pad and boots and that’s it. I said bye to everyone including [Roman] Abramovich, [who] wished me good luck.

‘The next day I was on a plane to Madrid. I went to Madrid with just my boots, shin pads, one [pair of] jeans, one shirt and my Chelsea tracksuit.’


Griezmann linked with Blues

The Sun has suggested Antoine Griezmann could become a Chelsea player as Barcelona reportedly look to cut costs significantly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The paper indicates the Spanish giants are facing a financial meltdown as a result of the pandemic and are ready to let a number of their star players move on this summer.

As one of the team’s highest earners, Griezmann could reportedly be available despite joining the club only a year ago from Atletico Madrid.

‘Moving Griezmann on after just a year at the club would be a bold move from Barcelona, to say the least,’ stated the Sun.

‘Finding someone to take his £300,000-a-week wages in this market would be tough but Chelsea and PSG have popped up on the rumour mill,’ it adds.

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