Chelsea boss Conte: "We have to respect Ivanovic's decision."

Ivanovic deserves great respect for his career at Chelsea.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will not stand in Branislav Ivanovic's way if the defender decided to leave Stamford Bridge in order to get regular first-team football.

Conte understands how it feels for a senior player who plays often not to have regular games under his belt anymore.

The Serbian, who has been linked with a move away from the west London side, came off the bench to score in Chelsea's 4-0 win over Brentford in the FA Cup on Saturday, and Conte was happy to see the 32-year-old - who has won two Premier League titles - get on the scoresheet.

‘First of all, I’m pleased for Iva. He scored a goal and that is always a great joy for a player,' the Italian said as quoted.

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‘In this situation it’s important to evaluate a lot of things, above all for the player. He hasn’t played a lot for us this season. I know when a player has the habit to play every game and it happens that you’re not playing regularly, it’s not easy to accept this decision.

‘Iva knows the situation well. I’m pleased if he remains here with us, but in this situation the player must make the best decision for him and his family.

‘I’m ready to accept any decision. He deserves great respect for his career at Chelsea. He has played a lot of games, he has won a lot, and we have to respect his decision.’

Ivanovic has had a stunning career at SW6, playing over 250 matches in all competitions, since he secured a move from Lokomotiv Moscow to Chelsea back in 2008.

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