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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Brazilian midfielder Willian has released an "open letter to Chelsea fans" after confirming that his seven-year spell at the Premier League club has come to an end.
Willian, 32, joined the club in August 2013 from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala and has helped the club win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, and the 2019 Europa League. The Brazil international made 339 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, scoring 63 goals and creating 62 assists.
Willian, whose contract expires this summer, had hoped to agree new terms with Chelsea but wanted a three-year contract. The club were only willing to offer two.
"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," Willian said in a statement released on his social media channels.
"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!"
While Willian's next destination is yet to be confirmed, the Brazilian has been strongly linked with London rivals Arsenal, who last week beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final – a match Willian missed through injury.
Media reports have claimed that Willian has agreed a three-year contract with the Gunners.
"The time has now come to move on," he said. "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!"
Updated: August 9, 2020 07:40 PM
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