Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta has signed new contract, it was officially confirmed on Tuesday (13 December). The Spaniard, who moved to English football from Ligue 1 outfit Marseille for a bargain fee of just £6.5m ($8.2m) in the summer of 2012, has put pen to paper on a fresh three-and-a-half year deal that will keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2020.
"I'm really happy to have signed a new contract," Azpilicueta told the club's official website. "Since I arrived here my target was to progress as a player and win trophies. This new contract gives me the chance to continue my relationship with the club, that's what I wanted and obviously I'm really happy here.
"We've had some really good moments so far this season. From day one, we started working very hard. We have a new manager with new ideas and I'm really happy to be working with him. Obviously we can still improve but the long-term aim for us is to win trophies, that is what we all want, the players, manager and fans."
Highly-regarded by a succession of managers for his valuable versatility, Azpilicueta was originally signed by Roberto Di Matteo as right-back cover but later ousted Ashley Cole as first-choice on the opposite flank following Jose Mourinho's return to west London.
He initially continued as a full-back under Antonio Conte during the early stages of the current campaign before going on to excel alongside Gary Cahill and David Luiz on the right-hand side of a three-man defence that have conceded just twice during a formidable sequence of nine successive wins that includes no fewer than seven clean sheets. Such a run has seen Chelsea, who sank to eighth following an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in September, open up a three-point lead at the summit of the Premier League.
Speaking on that new contract, technical director Michael Emenalo added: "We are delighted Cesar has chosen to extend his stay with us. Since he arrived four years ago he has proved himself to be an excellent professional and a top player, which he shows in every single training session and match. Cesar wasted no time in adopting the Chelsea mentality and spirit, and anybody who has met him will have seen his incredible and undiluted commitment to the Chelsea cause."
Azpilicueta has earned 18 senior caps for Spain during his career to date and recently featured for La Roja during a last-gasp 2-2 friendly draw against England at Wembley, where he was on the receiving end of a notably poor challenge from Jamie Vardy. The durable 27-year-old, whose only goal so far this term was an unstoppable right-footed volley netted during an eventful 4-2 EFL Cup third-round victory over Leicester City, is in line to make his 200th appearance for Chelsea on Wednesday (14 December) as the in-form leaders travel to face rock-bottom Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.