Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta is without question one of the best, if not THE best in the Premier League this season. However, can he go on to emulate the longevity of Gary Neville? Stephen Pickering argues the case...
If there is any other player in the Premier League, at the minute, more under-rated than Chelsea full-back Azpilicueta then I would love to know who.
The 24-year-old has become a stalwart of the Chelsea defence and more recently has become one of the truly outstanding defenders, not only in the Premier League, but in the world. A statement that 99% of Chelsea supporters will go along with, and many will back up.
But the question remains, just how far can the talented Spaniard go from here?
Well, I believe in terms of full-backs he can, and will, go on to be known in world football as one of the best. Although, I don't think he is far from that standard already.
In terms of players he could look to emulate, he should really look no further than the player he is currently keeping out of the side, Ashley Cole. However, looking further afield he has the same characteristics and attitude to Manchester United legend Gary Neville. who is arguably the most successful full-back in Premier League history.
The 85-capped England star went on to win more accolades in his career than most British clubs have had in their history. These include eight Premier League titles and two Champions League wins, as well as five PFA Team of the Year inclusions.
The Bury-born defender was simply the best of his time, and I believe Azpilicueta has enough about himself to acquire a similar CV to that of Gary Neville, right down to the PFA Team of the Year inclusions. In fact, at this stage of his career, he could even look to better Neville in that aspect.
The Spanish international has the potential to put himself in Premier League history books.
Despite the scrutiny of Villa-Boas's time at Chelsea, this signing looks set to go down as one of the best in Premier League history, as well as him having the potential to go on to become one of the best full-backs ever to play in the Premier League.