Claude Makelele confirms Chelsea exit by mutual consent: ‘It’s time for a new challenge’

Claude Makelele confirms Chelsea exit by mutual consent: ‘It’s time for a new challenge’

Claude Makelele has publicly confirmed his departure from Chelsea.

The iconic former Blues midfielder announced via social media on Thursday night that he has left his dual role as youth coach and technical mentor at Stamford Bridge by mutual consent as he seeks a fresh challenge elsewhere.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Makelele said: “After 4 fulfilling years, Chelsea & I decided, by mutual consent, that it‘s time for me to seek a fresh, new challenge.

“I do want to thank the fans for their affection. Blue will always be the color of my heart; I’ll share more once I’ve set my mind on the next chapter.”

Makelele returned to Chelsea in a huge summer 2019 revamp alongside fellow club legends Petr Cech and Frank Lampard, who were named as technical and performance advisor and first-team manager respectively, with the likes of fellow ex-players Joe Cole, Tore Andre Flo, Paulo Ferreira, Eddie Newton and Carlo Cudicini also then on the staff.

He remained in position during the reigns of Lampard, who returned last season as interim boss, Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, but is now moving on with changes continuing to be made behind the scenes under Mauricio Pochettino.

Earlier this week, it was reported that first-team coach Bruno Saltor has also departed Chelsea, having been brought in with Potter from Brighton and taken caretaker charge briefly last term before initially staying as part of Pochettino’s backroom staff.

Bruno joined Potter assistants Billy Reid and Bjorn Hamberg in leaving Stamford Bridge, though other Potter appointments remain in head of goalkeeping Ben Roberts and data analyst Kyle Macauley.

Makelele is a very popular figure at Chelsea, having spent five years of his illustrious playing career at the club between 2003-08, making 217 appearances across all competitions and winning a glut of major silverware including back-to-back Premier League titles during the first reign of Jose Mourinho plus the FA Cup and two League Cups, also part of the side that got to the Champions League final in 2008.

The 50-year-old’s playing style made an enormous impact on the defensive midfield role in general and he also played for Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Celta Vigo, Marseille and Nantes in addition to earning 71 senior international caps for France and reaching the 2006 World Cup final.

Since retiring as a player in 2011, Makelele has served as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at PSG and Paul Clement at Swansea as well as being a head coach himself at Bastia and Belgian club Eupen. He also spent a short time at Monaco as technical director in 2016.

Chelsea - not in European competition at all this season - have made a woeful start to the Pochettino era, sitting 14th in the table with just one win from their opening six top-flight matches ahead of Monday night’s west London derby away at Fulham.

However, they are through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup after the under-pressure Nicolas Jackson’s second-half goal secured a morale-boosting home win over high-flying Brighton on Wednesday night.