Chelsea’s longest-serving player finally departs Stamford Bridge
Ten years, eight loans, three senior first-team appearances. When most players leave a club after a decade, the talk is of testimonials. When Lucas Piazon departed Stamford Bridge on Thursday, Chelsea fans could be forgiven for barely noticing.
The 26-year-old Brazilian, remarkably, was the longest-serving player in their current squad, having joined in 2011 and, in theory at least, worked under eight different managers.
In reality, though, that work usually amounted to a bit of pre-season training followed by the news he was being shipped off elsewhere for the season.
The attacking midfielder’s transfer to Braga means that, at 26, he finally has a permanent home, having played in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Portugal while on Chelsea’s books, not to mention spells in the Championship with Reading and Fulham.
Chelsea initially signed the promising young Brazilian from Sao Paulo in 2011, but he was only eligible for a work permit to start in January 2012.
At that stage he had a reputation as an exciting youngster and there were signs he could make a significant impact.
Piazon was named the club’s Young Player of The Year after helping them to win the FA Youth Cup in May 2012.
And his three senior appearances all came in the 2012-13 season, being brought off the bench by Rafael Benitez in the Premier League to play the final 15 minutes of an 8-0 drubbing of Aston Villa – where he had a penalty saved – while also featuring in two League Cup games.
However, after that, the seemingly endless run of loans began.
He played for Malaga in Spain before stints at Vitesse in the Netherlands and Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.
In 2015, Piazon returned to England for loan spells with Reading and Fulham. He had two successive seasons with the latter, with his loan renewed after impressing first time around, and helped them earn promotion to the Premier League in 2017-18, before heading off again on his travels for stints with Italian side Chievo and Portuguese side Rio Ave.
For now, though, it looks like his wandering is over. He has signed a deal to play with Braga, who are fourth in Portugal’s top flight, until 2025.
Culled from BBCSports