Ashley Cole has officially confirmed via his Twitter account that he will be leaving Chelsea. The defender is out of contract in the next few weeks and it has long been speculated that he would leave the blues after eight spectacular years.
Cole joined Chelsea from Arsenal in 2006 in a swap deal involving William Gallas. Widely considered as the best left back in the world, Cole was not only an impressive force going forward, but he was also one of the best at guarding his defence as well.
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo widely reckons that Cole is the toughest defender he has come across and this is quite a compliment from the two-time FIFA Ballon d’Or award winner.
“Ashley Cole. He’s a very tough, tenacious football player.” – Ronaldo on Cole in 2009.
Cole was seen in tears after the final home match of the season against Norwich, while he also captained the team in the 2-1 win over Cardiff – his final match for the blues.
Chelsea had to go through a lot of controversy in order to get Cole from Arsenal. In the last eight years, it has proven to be worth the effort. The defender has made 338 appearances in the last eight seasons and scored seven goals.
Individually, his best performance came in the 2009-10 season when he scored four goals and help Chelsea lift the third Premier League title.
He leaves the club after having won:
- 1 Champions League
- 1 Premier League
- 4 FA Cups
- 1 League Cup
- 1 Europa League
- 1 FA Community Shield
It is widely expected that Cole will join an MLS club in the summer, although there have been reports that Liverpool and Real Madrid are also interested.
His performances against Atletico Madrid showed that he is still capable of playing at the top and it is rather surprising that Chelsea have decided to let him go. It also looks like we will not be getting Luke Shaw, who is set to join Manchester United, and we certainly look weak in the left back position.