Belfast Telegraph

Zenit St Petersburg sign Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic

Branislav Ivanovic's long association with Chelsea has ended with the Serbian joining Zenit St Petersburg on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

The 32-year-old defender, who made 376 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea since he moved to Stamford Bridge in 2008, had also been linked to Everton before the transfer deadline.

A statement published on Zenit's official website said the two clubs had agreed the switch, for an undisclosed fee, of a player whose contract was due to expire at the end of the season.

Ivanovic won the Premier League title twice, the FA Cup three times, the Champions League - although he missed the 2012 final due to suspension - and the Europa League with the Blues.

He featured in 13 league outings for Chelsea this term, scoring his last goal for Antonio Conte's table-toppers in Saturday's 4-0 FA Cup defeat of Brentford.

Zenit, who are managed by Mircea Lucescu, are 17 games into their Russian Premier League campaign and sit five points behind leaders Spartak Moscow.

Chelsea captain John Terry paid tribute to Ivanovic and said in a post on his Instagram account that he was "gutted" to see the Serbian leave the club.

He wrote: "Absolutely gutted to see Brana leave @chelseafc. An unbelievable defender for us over the years and a great and BIG character and presence in the dressing room.

"Good luck mate. Won everything at Chelsea and a proper LEGEND."


From Belfast Telegraph