Brazilian footballer Willian on Sunday shared an emotional letter with the fans on social media to confirm his departure from Chelsea after seven years with the London-based club.
Willian's contract with 'The Blues' came to an end this summer and the winger and the Chelsea management failed to come to a conclusion over a new deal.
Willian was reportedly looking for a three-year contract but Chesea weren't prepared to hand him that long a deal considering his age, i.e., 32. According to reports in British media, he is on the verge of signing a three-year deal with Chelsea's cross-town rivals Arsenal on a free transfer.
Willian, who won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and an Europa League title with Chelsea, expressed his gratitude at being able to play for the club in an open letter to the fans on his Instagram account.
"They were seven wonderful years. In August 2013 when I received the offer from Chelsea, I was convinced that this was where I had to play. Today I am certain that it was the best of decision. There were so many happy times, some sad, there were trophies and it was always very intense," Willian wrote.
"Yet, beyond the trophies, I learnt a lot about myself. I developed a great deal, becoming a better player and a better person. With each training session, with each game, with every minute spent in the dressing room, I was always learning.
"I am really grateful to the Chelsea fans for the affectionate way they welcomed me at Stamford Bridge and their support throughout my time at the club," he added.
"There was also criticism, which is normal, what is important though is that both the affection and criticism drove me to always give my all in every training session, every game, to be constantly improving until my very last minute in a Chelsea shirt!
"The time has now come to move on. I am certainly going to miss my teammates. I will miss all the staff at the club who've always treated me like a son and I will miss the fans. I leave with my head held high, safe in the knowledge that I won things here and always did my best in a Chelsea shirt! My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you and God bless you," he concluded.