After Cesar Azpilicueta became the 13th player to reach 400 appearances for Chelsea yesterday, we look back at the Blues team which took to the field on his debut.
Having signed from French side Marseille in the summer of 2012, Azpi had to bide his time to make his debut, as it was late September before he took to the field in a blue shirt for the first time.
Wolverhampton Wanderers provided the opposition for a League Cup third-round tie at Stamford Bridge and it was a triumphant start for the Spaniard, as we ran out 6-0 victors on the night.
Obviously you know what Azpilicueta is up to nowadays, but let’s bring you up to speed with the rest of the team from his Blues debut.
Our back-up goalkeeper in the 2012 Champions League final, Turnbull’s four-year spell at Stamford Bridge was by far the most decorated of his career, albeit also the most inactive as he made only 16 starts during that time. One of them happened to be in Azpilicueta’s debut – and it was the only clean sheet he kept for the Blues. Turnbull is now working as Hartlepool United’s goalkeeper coach.
The scorer of our opening goal in the 6-0 win over Wolves had been at Chelsea for a little over six months, during which time he had become a European champion and FA Cup winner. There was plenty more of that to come – by the time he left us in 2019, Cahill had eight winner’s medals around his neck, having made 290 appearances. He’s now leading the Crystal Palace backline.
At the time of this game plenty thought JT was approaching the end at the top, as he prepared to turn 32; little did they know there was arguably his best campaign to come, in 2014/15, when he played every minute on his way to adding another Premier League title. He’s now enjoying a successful start to his coaching career as assistant manager of Aston Villa.
A few months before this game, Bertrand had made history as the first player to make his Champions League debut in the final of the competition. The 2012/13 campaign was his best as a Blue, as he featured regularly throughout the season, but a year later he was out of favour and on his way to Southampton, where he remains to this day.
A year after Bertrand’s departure, he was joined on the South Coast by Romeu – and the two of them are both key players for the Saints. The former Barcelona youngster was just looking to establish himself as a Blue at the time of the Wolves match, when he scored his only goal for the club from the penalty spot, but a serious knee injury a few months later put paid to that.
The Brazilian midfielder was the engine of the team for much of the early 2010s, although he proved to be a bit more than just an energetic presence, as two Goal of the Season awards proved. It’s almost four years since Ramires brought his successful stint as a Chelsea player to an end, when he moved to China, and he recently brought an end to a short spell with Palmeiras in his homeland.
Although Moses had featured twice already by this point, this was his full debut for Chelsea after joining us from Wigan Athletic. The Nigeria international marked the occasions with the last of our six goals, the first of 18 he has scored for the club. Reinvented himself as a wing-back in our 2016/17 title-winning season, but he’s currently on his latest loan spell away from the Bridge with Spartak Moscow.
Another of our goalscorers at Wolves, few would have predicted this would have been Mata’s final season as a Blue, which ended with him retaining the club’s Player of the Year award. In January 2014 he bid farewell to the club to join Manchester United and he is still at Old Trafford today.
The second of three debutants in this game, Piazon made a further two appearances before the turn of the year and although he has remained with the club ever since, he’s yet to add to that tally of first-team appearances. The Brazilian, who turns 27 in January, is currently playing on loan at Rio Ave in the Portuguese top flight.
Torres has followed the recent trend of allowing a film crew into his life, becoming the start of his own Amazon Prime documentary, The Last Symbol. Eight years ago, however, he was scoring the fourth goal of 22 he netted during his most prolific season as a Blue, including our opener in the Europa League final.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo also made three substitutions in the game, including handing a debut to Marko Marin. The former Germany international is currently playing for Al-Ahli. The other two subs were Oscar and Eden Hazard. We’d be surprised if any of you had forgotten the Belgian is with Real Madrid, but give yourself a pat on the back if you remembered the Brazilian was still playing for Shanghai SIPG in China, having joined the club from Chelsea in 2017.