Nemanja Matic will miss sharing a dressing room with an ‘older brother’ after Branislav Ivanovic left Chelsea yesterday.

The Serbian defender put pen to paper on a transfer to Zenit St Petersburg, ending a hugely successful nine-year spell at Stamford Bridge.

Matic remains at the club with a Premier League title in his sights, but he won’t forget the help his fellow countryman has given him over the years.

Together: Branislav Ivanovic (R) of Chelsea celebrates with Nemanja Matic (C)

“I want to say something about Branislav,” he said.

“It was a pleasure to train with him.

“When I first came here eight years ago, he helped me a lot in the changing room and in training sessions because my English was terrible.

“He was my older brother at the club and it was a pleasure to play with him.

“I wish him all the best for the rest of his career.

“He has gone to a big club in Russia and is still captain of the national team, so we will still get to play together.

“But it was a pleasure to have him as a team-mate here.”

Twin threat: Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic (R)

When a man of Ivanovic’s experience steps out of a club it leaves a gap far wider than just a vacant locker.

Matic is coming to terms with the responsibility that comes with an ever-increasing seniority in the Chelsea squad.

“Branislav was an experienced player and it is very important to have this in the changing room,” he said.

“When you have an experienced player they pass on everything they know and what to do in this type of situation, especially when you are in this part of the season.

“It is good to have Gary (Cahill), John Terry, and in reality I am one of the experienced players too.

“I’m 28 so I’m not young anymore, but David Luiz is still older than me!”

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