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Willian comforted by Costa. Photo: Reuters

This is Willian’s toughest season as a Chelsea player. The Brazilian lost his mum to cancer in the early stage of the season, he lost 4kg and fought an emotional battle to keep his head in the game in what was a very difficult time for him.

The Brazilian has admitted he’s better and stronger now, and has thanked the fans, his teammates and Antonio Conte for being supportive in such a difficult moment for him.

He explained to Standard Sport: “It has been the toughest season of my career. Everyone knows what happened to my mother.

“It was very hard to play football after my mother passed away. I was so emotional and physically I didn’t feel good.

“I lost weight, around 4kg. I was still eating similar things, but I didn’t know what was happening.

“Of course there were occasions I didn’t want to eat because I was thinking about things so much. It was the stress of what I’d been through, mentally I didn’t feel well.

“Now it feels like there have been two sides to the past year. One was very difficult, but the other side has been amazing because Chelsea have won a trophy and we hope to add another.

“I feel like the sun is shining again. I still have to go day by day, but I always try to look forward, not behind.”

Willian, who is a devout Christian, added: “I had so much help, firstly from God, Jesus Christ, my wife and two daughters, my dad, my sister and friends.

“But my team-mates and everyone at the club were great with me also. They did so in little ways, with a hug or just by talking to me. They would give me the words to help me be strong and it was important for me.

“I spoke with the coach and he was very supportive. He sent me a message when it first happened and did other things to get me through it.

“I was given the time to come back, to recover. After one or two months I started to play again, started to play well. I want to thank everyone so much.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.