This was the game last season that turned the life around for Cesar Azpilicueta, not that he didn’t like it though. The transformation from a right back to a left back was never going to be easy, but all credit goes to his hard work and dedication. Cesar Azpilicueta is one of the best full backs in the world at the moment, no doubt about it. In an interview with Chelsea FC official site, Cesar Azpilicueta reveals about the secret behind the successful transformation.
It was against the Bundesliga side in the Champions League group stage that it all began for the Spaniard as a left-back at Chelsea.
In the away game in the Ruhr in mid-October he helped Jose Mourinho’s side to a clean sheet and a 3-0 win, and the result was repeated with the same defence two weeks later.
However in three matches in between those games he was back on the right or on the bench, initially suggesting the left-back selection had been a specific solution against the Germans. That proved very wrong with Azpilicueta playing there a further 28 times last season, being voted the Chelsea Players’ Player of the Year at the end of it, and resuming on the left for the current campaign.
‘It has been one year ago more or less since I played my first start here as a left-back,’
Cesar acknowledges when speaking this week to the official Chelsea website.
‘In the game away the manager decided to play me there, after I didn’t play the following games but when he asked me to play there again I was happy, and every time I play I try to give my best for the team.
‘When you have always played right-back you have everything more automatic and it is more or less routine. When you play left-back it is a similar role, you are still a full-back, but you have to use your left foot more and when you play on the other side you play with different people. You have to get it quickly and try to improve, which is what I do. In every game I try to improve and my target is always to try to be better than the day before, and I think I am better than last year.’
Azpilicueta revealed after last season’s first match against Schalke that he had played on the left on two or three occasions for his previous club Marseille, but never a sustained run of games before and that has required hard work in training. The 25-year-old is certainly not the type of player to try to succeed on the left by only using his stronger foot.
‘It is not the same as my right foot but I try to improve to get the left as close as possible to my right foot, because I want to be better. I think I have to improve and I think I can improve,’ he says.
Azpilicueta is also not the type of character to take lightly the challenge posed by Schalke tonight.
‘Last season the two games were good results but this year is different and we start a new competition with the first game at home. We must do again the things that we did well but it is a different situation in the season and we have to think just about this game, with the players that Schalke have at the moment, and try to get the three points.’