Last month Marcos Alonso joined an elite group of overseas players who have represented Chelsea on 200 occasions or more.
That milestone, reached towards the conclusion of his sixth season at Stamford Bridge, speaks volumes. Alonso has consistently performed at a high level at one of the world’s top clubs, despite working under different managers and in varying formations.
He has played at left wing-back in a little under 60 per cent of his 206 appearances, most famously on our way to the title in his maiden campaign in west London, while under the management of Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard he was commonly deployed at left-back.
In that time, Alonso has almost won the lot at Chelsea – only defeat in the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool denied him a momentous clean sweep. It has been quite a journey since he first touched down on these shores at Bolton in 2010.
‘I have come a long way since then,’ he reflects.
‘After a lot of challenges, you grow as a person and a player. It’s the experience that can help you the most. All the good things, all the bad things… it’s what makes you improve and what makes you better. I think I’m a much more mature person now with a big career behind me, and hopefully more to come.
‘Chelsea is my home now. It has become the club of my life. I will always have those memories, and I will always have Chelsea in my mind.’
When he delves into that memory bank, those 200 games and all the success that has come with them, Alonso doesn’t hesitate in choosing a standout moment.
‘Winning the first Premier League. It was a huge year. It was a change in my career and the start of a great time here at Chelsea.
‘I can remember scoring two at Leicester and the Chelsea fans singing my name as it if was yesterday. I have great memories hearing my name in the stands.’
As much as those memories mean so much, Alonso does not want to stand still. There is time for that when he was retired. For now, his focus is on finishing the season well and adding yet another piece of silverware to his enviable collection.
‘We have shown over the last year years we are capable of winning anything, so we will need to try and fight and this season hopefully we can bring back the FA Cup.
‘It is the title we have left, and it is even more important after the other final a couple months ago. We will do our best to get another trophy for the club and for our fans.’