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Branislav Ivanovic Leaves Chelsea for Zenit St. Petersburg

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Branislav Ivanovic leaves Chelsea for Zenit St. Petersburg after nine-years

London, England, United Kingdom – Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has joined Russian Premier League side Zenit St. Petersburg for an undisclosed fee on a three-and-a-half year deal, the club has confirmed.

“Ivanovic will be best remembered for his last-gasp header which clinched the Europa League trophy in 2013, but his overall contribution during the club’s most successful years cannot be overstated and he departs as a true Chelsea legend.”

The 32-year-old joined the Blues in January 2008 from Lokomotiv Moscow and now departs having won two Premier League titles, one Champions League, one Europa League, three FA Cups and one League Cup.

Chelsea captain John Terry paid tribute to his team-mate, describing Ivanovic as a “legend” in an Instagram post.

“Unbelievable defender for us over the years and a great and big character and presence in the dressing room,” Terry wrote.

Having spent seven seasons as a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge, Ivanovic fell out of Chelsea’s starting XI when Antonio Conte decided to switch to a 3-4-3 system in September and the defender was unlikely to be offered an extension to his contract, which was due to expire in June.

Chelsea have not signed a direct replacement for Ivanovic, but Conte’s defensive options were bolstered earlier in January by Kurt Zouma’s return to fitness after a serious knee injury and Nathan Ake’s recall from a season-long loan at Bournemouth.

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