‘It was like I passed away or something!’ – Chilwell reflects on emotional Leicester departure and new Chelsea friendships

The Blues full-back explained his reaction to a video from former team-mate James Maddison that headlined a difficult decision

Chelsea’s new £50 million ($65m) signing Ben Chilwell spoke about how hard it was to leave Leicester City this summer, but the defender said he is now aiming to build new friendships at Stamford Bridge.

The 23-year-old fullback was unveiled to the media after making his first start against Tottenham and spoke about making the decision to leave Leicester, his club of 11 years that gave him his first chance in the game.

Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers ultimately gave his blessing for Chilwell to move as the left-back described his emotional exit from the King Power Stadium for the first time.

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“After that, I had conversations with my agent and it was a pretty smooth process coming down here,” Chilwell said. “It got done, Leicester were good and I came down here pretty quickly.

“I knew that I had a really good conversation with Brendan Rodgers and he said it would be a great thing for my career coming here. It will take me to the next level.

“He said Chelsea was the perfect club for me to play at. He said he was desperate for me to stay at Leicester too but that it was a good club for me to come and improve myself.

“He didn’t have enough good things to say about the club, having been here himself. It was a mixture of emotions but it was the best thing for me and the excitement overtook all of that.”

One of Chilwell’s best friends in football is James Maddison, who posted a video of the pair together at the King Power Stadium.

“I did feel emotional, yes,” Chilwell continued. “It was quite funny because when he posted it; I think I actually got more messages from that video than I did on the actual move itself. It went down quite well, didn’t it?

“Although, I had a few people messaging me having jokes that it was like I had passed away or something. It seemed like that sort of video. It was difficult to leave. When I have friends like that, that I am that close with like James, it makes it a bit more difficult.

“But, we still keep in contact, we talk most days. Just about general things, how he is doing and how I am doing. He knows it is what’s best for my career and there’s no one happier than him [for me]. We are still good friends and we will continue to be.”

Still, with his confident personality, Chilwell looks to have fit in well amongst the players at Cobham and is said to have already built a friendship with fellow new signing Hakim Ziyech.

Chilwell already knew many of the English players, such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, from their time with the national team and he has said that adapting to his new surroundings has been easy.

“I knew seven or eight of the boys here for years now. Even Tammy, Mase, Ruben, I was playing against them when I was 14, 15 years old,” he added. I didn’t know them personally then, but we’ve known of each other for a long time.

“And then in the England younger age groups we started playing together and thankfully we’re all fortunate enough to have stepped into the first team as well at England.

“So when I go to England, it was nice to pick their brains as to what it’s like here as a club, and Champions League as well, everyone always wants to ask what Champions League football is like. So it’s definitely helped me settle in a lot, knowing quite a lot of the boys here.”

Chilwell is in line to make his first Premier League appearance for the Blues against Crystal Palace this weekend after a falling out between Frank Lampard and Marcos Alonso last week.

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