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28. César Azpilicueta


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On 24 August 2012, Chelsea completed the signing of Azpilicueta for an undisclosed fee, reported as £7 million. According to his teammate and countryman Juan Mata, "He is a strong running right-back who has pace as well, so I think he is already a complete player." Upon arriving in England, his new teammates started calling him 'Dave' in referance to the British comedy only fools and horses, as they could not pronounce his name.

Azpilicueta made his debut on 25 September 2012, starting in a 6–0 home win against Wolverhampton Wanderers for the season's Football League Cup. He played his first Premier League game the following week, coming on as a substitute for Branislav Ivanović in a 4–1 success over Norwich City, also at Stamford Bridge.

On 3 November 2012 Azpilicueta made his first league start, appearing against Swansea City in a 1–1 away draw. He played 48 official contests in his first year with the Rafael Benítez-led side, including eight in the Blues' victorious campaign in the UEFA Europa League: in the final against S.L. Benfica his 67th-minute handball led to Óscar Cardozo's penalty kick equalizer, in an eventual 2–1 win in Amsterdam.

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