Ashley Cole confirmed via his official Twitter account he has made his last appearance for Chelsea, and is unsure of his future going forward.
Just a week ago the 33-year-old defender was left out of the England squad for the World Cup, and thus announced his international retirement after a phone call with Roy Hodgson.
It’s been a trying season for the legend, who ended international duty with 107 caps for his country and currently sits on 229 league appearances for Chelsea.
His contract expires this summer, and despite it being reported that Chelsea were willing to discuss a new deal, Cole is hoping to secure more playing time elsewhere after spending eight seasons at Stamford Bridge.
He has been supplanted not only on the international stage by the younger duo of Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw, but also at the club level by 24-year-old Cesar Azpilicueta, who reduced Cole to just 17 Premier League appearances, mostly in the first half of the season.
Looking at his numbers, it’s no surprise Jose Mourinho slowly transitioned away from the aging star. He was successful with just 47% of his tackles, according to Squawka statistics, compared to 53% for Azpilicueta. In addition, he averaged much less involvement in the defensive play, with just half the defensive actions per match of his counterpart.
And while Azpilicueta wasn’t statistically as good going forward, he built a positive relationship with Eden Hazard on the left side, allowing the Belgian to take the spotlight but also supporting well in both the overlap and the cover.
However, all is not lost for Cole. With Branislav Ivanovic suspended for the Champions League semifinal first leg against Atletico Madrid, Cole stepped in beautifully, and followed that one up with another great performance at Liverpool in Chelsea’s shocking 2-0 win.
There will be plenty of speculation over Cole’s future next season, but it would make sense to see plenty of interest for his services in and out of the Premier League. Just not at Stamford Bridge.