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Photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea players just returned for pre-season ahead of the new Premier League season and Blues defender Cesar Azpilicueta is already raring for the season to start.

The Spain international played every minute of the 2016/17 Premier League campaign as Chelsea ended the season as champions and the 27-year-old is looking forward to the next season.

“We are looking forward to it starting,” he said. “Obviously it’s a big challenge for us, we know how difficult it is to win it as we’ve now won it two times in the past three years, but we are ready to fight.

“Now every team will be fired up playing against the champions and we have to prepare well mentally to fight for it.

“This is a league where you compete against six or seven big teams,” the Spain international added.

“It’s very difficult to predict a champion before the start of the season. The biggest rivals will be the team you are playing against next and every team is difficult to play, so we have to perform in every game.”

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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.