Cesar Azpilicueta has opened up about Chelsea’s Club World Cup defeat in 2012 as he aims to win the tournament this time around and add the only trophy that has so far eluded his career at Stamford Bridge.
The Spanish stalwart joined the Blues at the start of 2012/13 from Marseille and was involved in the club’s 1-0 defeat to Corinthians in the CWC final that campaign.
As Champions League winners the season prior, Chelsea travelled to Japan for the annual showpiece, but Rafa Benitez — who replaced Roberto Di Matteo in November that year — was unable to bring home the trophy.
Chelsea comfortably saw off Monterrey in the semi-finals, but Corinthians sealed triumph in the Yokohama final, a game in which Benitez started the likes of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Eden Hazard, Petr Cech and Fernando Torres, with Azpilicueta given a runout from the bench.
Fast forward a decade and Chelsea have a chance to banish the ghosts from that loss, with Thomas Tuchel’s men currently out in the United Arab Emirates for the 2021 installation of the tournament, and they face Al Hilal on Wednesday night, with Azpilicueta outlining his intentions to win the trophy.
He said at a press conference ahead of the Al Hilal clash: “I’m really motivated. In 2012 it hurt a lot and it’s the only competition I haven’t won.
“To win it first time for the club is huge, we have to make it everything for us. We’re representing Europe, and know how difficult it is to make it here.
“We know it’s going to be difficult. We have to make the most of this chance.
“We lost in 2012 and maybe in Europe there’s a different perception of what tournament is, but we’re against champions of other continents.
“We have a huge motivation. Hopefully we can win it.”
The Chelsea defender went on to talk about his memories of that defeat in Japan 10 years ago.
He added: “It was hard to take that defeat. Maybe with time you realise how difficult it is to get there.
“We saw how Corinthians prepared for the game. Sometimes small details make a difference and on that day we weren’t at our best. It hurt a lot.”