English Premiership

Willian ends Chelsea stay with 'head held high'

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Willian (Getty Images)
Willian (Getty Images)

Willian says he is leaving Chelsea with "his head held high" ending a seven year spell with the Premier League club he told fans in an open letter on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Brazil winger has been linked with a move to Arsenal after he failed to agree a new contract with the Blues.

Willian rejected Tottenham Hotspur to join Chelsea from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala for £30 million in 2013.

He scored 63 goals in 339 appearances and won five trophies, two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup and the Europa League.

However, an ankle injury prevented him playing in the FA Cup final loss to Arsenal and Saturday's Champions League last 16 second leg thumping by Bayern Munich.

"The time has now come to move on. I am certainly going to miss my team-mates," he said.

"I will miss all the staff at the club who've always treated me like a son and I will miss the fans.

"I leave with my head held high, safe in the knowledge that I won things here and always did my best in a Chelsea shirt."

Willian - a member of the Brazil squads at the 2014 and 2018 World Cup finals - said he had never regretted his preferring Chelsea to London rivals Spurs.

"They were seven wonderful years. In August 2013 when I received the offer from Chelsea, I was convinced that this was where I had to play," he said.

"Today I am certain that it was the best of decisions. There were so many happy times, some sad, there were trophies and it was always very intense.

"There was also criticism, which is normal, what is important though is that both the affection and criticism drove me to always give my all in every training session, every game, to be constantly improving until my very last minute in a Chelsea shirt."

Willian leaves along with fellow veteran Spain winger Pedro, who is joining AS Roma on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old European championships and World Cup winner also issued a heartfelt farewell message as he brought the curtain down on his half a decade spell at the club.

"After five wonderful years my stage at Chelsea FC comes to an end," he wrote on Instagram.

"It's been a pleasure and an honour to play for this club and win the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League titles, as well as competing in one of the world's best football leagues.

"I made the right choice, I take with me wonderful and unforgettable memories."

View this post on Instagram

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE FANS OF CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB . . They were seven wonderful years. In August 2013 when I received the offer from Chelsea, I was convinced that this was where I had to play. Today I am certain that it was the best of decisions. There were so many happy times, some sad, there were trophies and it was always very intense. . . Yet, beyond the trophies, I learnt a lot about myself. I developed a great deal, becoming a better player and a better person. With each training session, with each game, with every minute spent in the dressing room, I was always learning. . . I am really grateful to the Chelsea fans for the affectionate way they welcomed me at Stamford Bridge and their support throughout my time at the club. There was also criticism, which is normal, what is important though is that both the affection and criticism drove me to always give my all in every training session, every game, to be constantly improving until my very last minute in a Chelsea shirt! . . The time has now come to move on. I am certainly going to miss my teammates. I will miss all the staff at the club who’ve always treated me like a son and I will miss the fans. I leave with my head held high, safe in the knowledge that I won things here and always did my best in a Chelsea shirt! . . My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you and God bless you! . Willian Borges da Silva

A post shared by Willian Borges Da Silva (@willianborges88) on

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Fixtures
Mon 26 Oct 20 19:30 PM (SAST)
Brighton & Hove Albion
West Bromwich Albion
The American Express Community Stadium
Mon 26 Oct 20 22:00 PM (SAST)
Burnley
Tottenham Hotspur
Turf Moor
Fri 30 Oct 20 22:00 PM (SAST)
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Crystal Palace
Molineux Stadium
Results
Sun 25 Oct 20
Arsenal 0
Leicester City 1
Sun 25 Oct 20
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Newcastle United 1
Sun 25 Oct 20
Southampton 2
Everton 0
Logs
Team
P
W
PTS
1. Everton
6
4
13
2. Liverpool
6
4
13
3. Aston Villa
5
4
12
4. Leicester City
6
4
12