Cesar Azpilicueta has been hailed as one of the world's best by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte following the club's win over Qarabag in their Champions League group stage match.

The versatile Spaniard joined Chelsea in 2012 from Marseille and has become an integral player for the Blues ever since, being appointed vice-captain earlier this summer.

Having played every minute of the Premier League last season, Azpilicueta was a crucial part of Conte's three-man defence as he helped his side win a second league title in three seasons.

The 28-year-old has continued his form this season as well, scoring in the 55th minute for Chelsea as they defeated Qarabag 6-0 on Tuesday (12 September) in their return to Champions League football.

Azpilicueta's performance led to Conte claiming that the Spain international, originally a right-back, should be in consideration with the rest of the world's best central defenders.

"Last season, Azpi was one of the most important players for us," Conte said, as quoted by FourFourTwo. "In this position as a central defender, he is one of the best in the world. He is very good with and without the ball.

"He's a fantastic guy, he's always positive, and during the training sessions, he works in a fantastic way. For a coach to have him is a dream."

After a shaky start to their title defence with a 3-2 home loss to Burnley, Chelsea have now won their next four games in all competitions.

Conte will be hoping Azpilicueta and company continue their form ahead of the big visit of Arsenal on Sunday (17 September).

Cesar Azpilicueta
Azpilicueta was appointed as Chelsea's vice-captain earlier in the summer Getty