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Cesc Fabregas
Gender Male
Ethnic Spanish
Job Spanish Footballer
  Arsenal Captain
Desc The Spanish midfielder has won almost everything in the game, but it will be of much regret to both Arsenal fans and Fabregas himself that he never lifted a trophy as captain during his eight years in north London. Joining Arsenal as a teenager, Fabregas became the club’s youngest ever player against Rotherham in a League Cup tie aged 16 years and 177 days, a record which still stands
  When a 15-year-old Cesc Fabregas moved from Barcelona to Arsenal, Gunners fans adopted him as one of their own. He went on to become club captain and one of the most majestic players in the club’s storied history. His status as a World Cup and European Cup champion speaks for itself

Affiliation

Org Spain National Team
Club as Player AS Monaco
  Chelsea FC
  Barcelona FC
  Arsenal FC

2013 09 04 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas on the sale of Mesut Ozil] I was really surprised by Ozil’s departure. He seemed to me the second-best player at Madrid after Cristiano Ronaldo.

2013 11 05 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas on Paul Scholes] He is the one whose level I aspire to. He is the best player in the Premier League.

2014 03 01 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas on Leo Messi] If there’s any player that carries the weight of the team on his shoulders, it’s Leo Messi. If more has to be asked of him, then three times as much has to be asked of us. Leo has been the most consistent player in world football.

2014 09 13 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas on himself] Don’t think that I didn’t think [the Arsenal connection before joining Chelsea]. I will always feel a Gunner and I know that I am going to return to the Emirates and I feel that it will be a special moment, but I am committed. Remember that I played a Champions League final against Barcelona! I swear to you that I would have done anything to win that game, despite being a Barcelona fan since I was a kid! So you know that when I play against Arsenal, I will know who I am playing for, who my team-mates are and who I will defend, and I know that the Arsenal fans will understand

2015 01 31 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas on whether he ever saw himself signing for Chelsea and playing under Jose Mourinho] Three years ago, no. It just shows you how you can never tell in life, and even more so in football. We (Barcelona) had a very intense rivalry with Mourinho. It never reached the level of hatred, not even close, but there were disagreements with him and [John] Terry too. Chelsea were always the team that I most wanted to beat

2015 05 30 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas interrupts an Oscar interview to rib his Chelsea team-mate] You don’t speak English, mate! Three years here and you don’t speak English!

2015 08 20 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas on Thierry Henry] He was so powerful I’ve never seen a player being so dominant in the Premier League.

2015 11 28 Retrieve

[on Patrick Vieira] I don’t think a lot of players have done what he has done for this Club [Arsenal]. He has been a big inspiration for me.

2016 01 01 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas said of Wenger in 2016. This was the very essence of the Wenger way] He took me when I was only 16, made me a better player, a better person, and was like a second father with the way he treated me.

2016 02 13 Retrieve

[on Jose Mourinho] Personally, he (Mourinho) helped me in a very complicated moment of my career and he gives me confidence. I will do whatever he asks. In face-to-face situations he helps me a lot and I respect him for that.

2016 04 23 Retrieve

[Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas gave an honest assessment of his poor form during the first half of the English Premier League season] There was a moment after the Bournemouth game where I was in bed. I was so disappointed, so sad, and I said to my wife: ‘I just forgot how to play football.’ It wasn’t me out there. You have the ball and you don’t know what to do with it. Those two or three months were hard. I wasn’t feeling confident at all.

2016 06 04 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas discusses what could have been for Spain at Brazil 2014] In football confidence is so important, and in certain moments things go right or wrong. I remember in the Netherlands game, which we lost 5-1, we were winning 1-0 and David Silva was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. If he scored that it would have been 2-0, and no chance for them. We’d have probably won and the confidence would have been very different. Instead, straight after that chance they scored, and from then in the second half they were much better than us. So football is about moments [like that].

2017 01 06 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas on Silvio Gazzaniga’s FIFA World Cup trophy] That award represents the best thing that can ever happen to a football player. It is a trophy apart, a special award, a particular feeling, a special one. The World Cup is the most beautiful trophy I have ever won and the one which gave me most satisfaction ever. Having it in your hands is more than a dream. It’s small but you can feel the weight. It’s something different to all others

2017 10 21 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas reveals his changing perceptions of Jose Mourinho] Jose Mourinho? He was my enemy when he was in Madrid or Chelsea. We were in competitions and we wanted to win against the other. Then I became his player at Chelsea and I was thoroughly behind him. This is football today. I learned a lot from him and I have very positive memories with him that I would keep for life

2018 02 24 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas tells that Lionel Messi would thrive if he were to ever move to the Premier League] Without a doubt, he would still be the best [player in England]

2018 03 26 Retrieve

[Former Barca team-mate Cesc Fabregas has since backed Messi’s decision to pick Argentina over Spain, though believes La Roja have missed out as a result] It would have been phenomenal if Leo had played for Spain. We would have won more titles, but he always felt very Argentine and I think it was the perfect decision to play for his country

2018 10 20 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas speaking after earning a Guinness World Record for becoming the fastest player to reach 100 Premier League assists] I’m not the fastest, I’m not the strongest, I’m not the most flexible, I don’t jump high. But to achieve this record in my career is one of the proudest things in my job, because it is my job and I did it well

2019 07 20 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has said that he believes his ex-team-mate in West London Eden Hazard is better suited to Real Madrid than another of his previous clubs, Barcelona] Hazard is a great player who makes the difference. He is the kind of player that was made to play at Real Madrid because he needs a lot of space to run in to, to have the ball and drive, he likes to move around the field and you can’t tell him to ‘stay there’. At Barcelona, for example, it’s a team more about positioning, for everyone to be in their place to circulate the ball. And he likes to go to the ball to have freedom and he can give Real Madrid much more than he could give to Barcelona

[Griezmann] signed an important contract with Atleti and it seemed he had the intention to try and do something big there. But football changes a lot. His arrival makes Barcelona even better because he’s a really good player and will support that attack a lot. It’s difficult to think about coming to Spain at 32. My dream was to play with Barcelona and I did that for three years, won many things and was very happy. A lot of things would have to happen for me to go back and play in Spain.

2019 09 04 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas said Real Madrid made multiple attempts to sign him during his time with Arsenal, but he turned down the chance to join the Blancos] They called me more than once or twice. The first time I was very young. I was 18 and they offered me a big salary, but I felt like I belonged at Arsenal. (Arsene) Wenger had bet the farm on me. I couldn’t leave. In any case, I’ll always be grateful to Madrid for the way they treated me. When I was 23 I had a serious calf injury and they sent me a really nice message. I’m grateful for their interest in me but I always dreamed of playing for Barca

[Fabregas joined Monaco in January 2019. Now 32, Fabregas says he is still hungry to keep playing, though he is also eyeing a future as manager] I still want to play. I’m still enthusiastic and in my head I’m still in the zone. I’m happy when I go in to train and I get angry when I lose a game. As long as that’s still the case I’ll keep going. Although it’s true that now I analyse the game more than I used to and I feel a coaching instinct that I didn’t have before. We’ll see

2019 09 05 Retrieve

[Monaco midfielder Fabregas has been able to watch Kylian Mbappe at close quarters since joining the Ligue 1 side from Chelsea in January] He’s a phenomenon. He’s clearly going to be the best player in the world in the future. I always think like a midfielder and if I had him in front of me I’d be giving him assists all the time because he’s so fast, explosive, but he’s also very clever in slipping his markers. He has his timing down perfectly. [Thierry] Henry and Diego Costa were also brilliant at that. The thing that stands out about Mbappe is that he’s so hungry, he knows how to exploit his ability

[Neymar still has not featured for PSG this term, but Fabregas doesn’t think he’s lost his ability to dominate the run of play and impact matches] I played with him. The best players never lose their touch. Sometimes due to things in your head or because you have a coach who doesn’t know how to get the best out of you, you play below your ability. But if you’re a great player, you always will be. And he’s a great player

2019 09 05b Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas believes it’s impossible that another player like Lionel Messi will emerge in the future] I think that’s probably impossible. We’ve seen the likes of [Ronaldo](cristiano-ronaldo.html) and Ronaldinho, amazing players, but Messi has been the best for 15 years. He’s in his 17th season and he’s been the best since he was 18 years old. I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. Every three days he scores goals, he heads off to play for Argentina, he comes back jet-lagged and scores a hat-trick… that’s not normal, believe me. I would have liked to enjoy playing more with Leo. I had a bit of bad luck in that respect. The first season we had together we had a great understanding. But the two following seasons was when I had my worst time with injuries. I wasn’t at my best at key moments and that affected everyone, including Leo

[Fabregas is currently playing in France for Monaco with the club second last in Ligue 1 with just two points from their first four games. After just avoiding relegation last season, Fabregas is hoping they can bounce back this campaign] The objective last year was clear: stay up by whatever means possible. This season we’ll try to compete to qualify for the Champions League. Let’s see if the new signings all fit in well

2019 09 07 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas says Lionel Messi is a cut above is peers] We’ve seen the likes of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, amazing players, but Messi has been the best for 15 years. He’s in his 17th season and he’s been the best since he was 18 years old. I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe

2019 10 01 Tweet

[Arsenal great Cesc Fabregas hailed the performance of Matteo Guendouzi against Manchester United in the club’s 1-1 draw on Monday] Gotta love Guendouzi. Can play good or not so good but always shows up in difficult moments at such a young age. Big future ahead of him at Arsenal

[Guendouzi wasn’t the only young Arsenal player that impressed Fabregas on Monday with Bukayo Saka, who set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal] Saka is a player. 18 years old showing great maturity

2019 10 01b Retrieve

[Indeed, Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas were all blown away by Callum Hudson-Odoi’s ability] He is a good boy who is full of confidence. I remember this first training session that he did with Antonio Conte. His finishing was superb

2020 01 04 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas is eager to start working with new manager Robert Moreno at Monaco, saying the Spaniard is from the Barcelona school] I talk a lot with my friends who are still playing for the Spanish national team. All of them have said good things about the coach’s methods and his communication; he tries to make it easier to take in information. The coach comes from the Barcelona school, which I know well. He has a philosophy, but he is also a coach who adapts to his players and his team’s opponents. He explains very well why you do the things you do.

Now it’s up to us to apply [Moreno’s philosophy] on the pitch. As I have said before, it will take time. But I think it will be good for us players, especially the younger members of the team

2020 01 07 Retrieve

[Former Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas reveals he spoke to Moyes about Man Utd move] Conte [was the most difficult coach] by far. I always said that coming back and change around his mind about me was one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my career. I had to be silent and sweat a lot though

[Fabregas also weighed in on Callum Hudson-Odoi’s recent struggles after returning from a long-term injury] The first time he came to train with us I knew he was different, his finishing and pace were something else for his age. He has a long way to go and just came back from a terrible injury. With time and good attitude he can become a terrific player

2020 01 08 Retrieve

[asked to pick the best player in England’s top flight and replied simply] Sadio Mane for me

[When asked what was the most challenging league he has played in] Premier League by far!

[When asked who toughest midfield opponents go] Fabrice Muamba when he was at Bolton. He was man marking me for 95’ and he even would follow me to the toilet if needed. I ended up scoring every game though

[He’s disappointed to see the prestige of FA Cup has gone down in recent years] There are so many games for the top teams nowadays that managers use the FA Cup to make changes and that’s a bit sad but we would all do the same when you play 60+ games a season

[Fabregas, now 32, is currently lining up for Monaco in France and stressed he remains determined to achieve success] There are always different motivations at different stages. Now we have a big challenge in front of us with the new coach and I’m sure we will see a big difference in a few weeks time when we all get what he wants from us

2020 03 15 Retrieve

[Ex-Chelsea star Fabregas loses bet with Caballero and pays up… with clapped-out Range Rover] So, after a player already told the story to the press of what happened one day in 2018 and many people asked me if it’s true, there we go. Many times for many years after training, I stay a little bit longer to take some penalties. I always made little bets with the goalkeepers to put a bit of spice into the challenge. For some reason, I never really missed one. So one day I got too confident and it got a bit out of hand. It was Willy Caballero’s turn and I told him that if he saved it I’d get him a Range Rover. Unfortunately for me, he saved it in front of the whole team so you can imagine how it went […] I went from feeling the most confident, to feeling like the most stupid guy on earth. Everybody obviously was shouting and laughing that I had to pay my debt. I went to a scrapyard and I found a destroyed Range Rover that couldn’t be used at all for £950 so I said, you know what? I’ll get that. The next day they brought it to the training ground and well… I’ll show you the rest on a video. The lesson of the story is: Don’t bet at all at any cost.

2020 03 21 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas recounts an embarrassing high-stakes wager he made with former Chelsea team-mate Willy Caballero] Many times for many years after training, I stayed a little bit longer to take some penalties. I always made little bets with the goalkeepers to put a bit of spice into the challenge. For some reason, I never really missed one. So one day I got too confident and it got a bit out of hand. It was Willy Caballero’s turn and I told him that if he saved it I’d get him a Range Rover. Unfortunately for me, he saved it in front of the whole team so you can imagine how it went… I went from feeling the most confident to feeling like the most stupid guy on earth.

2020 03 23 Retrieve

[Fabregas hit Fergie with pizza] Because I didn’t play I was one of the first players to go into the tunnel and I just saw a pizza because I was hungry. I started hearing shouts and I went out and saw Rio Ferdinand, all the big boys, Thierry, and Sol Campbell getting into a fight. I didn’t know what to do as I was so small and skinny so I just did it [threw it] because there was nothing I could do because the tunnel was full of big guys having an argument. I found out later it touched Mr Ferguson and I apologised already publicly and I’ll do it again. It wasn’t intentional, it was a moment that just happens.

2020 03 24 Retrieve

[Fabregas explains why Arsenal return didn’t happen when leaving Barcelona for Chelsea] Once I decided to leave (Barcelona), Arsenal had the first option of any other club and I could not speak to any other club for one week to see if Arsenal want me or not. Arsene didn’t give an answer, we just had to wait one full week to see if they responded. Definitely this was my first option, in my mind I’m telling everyone I’m going to Arsenal - this is what I want.

Arsene can see this. I didn’t want to be a beggar, they know the situation, in one week they haven’t said anything, straight away I knew they probably didn’t want me back. They waited the full week without giving me a response.

After the week I had to take my chance, I had Manchester City, United and then I spoke to [Jose] Mourinho - which I didn’t think would ever happen. To be honest, after I left the room with Mourinho I said ‘that’s it, I don’t need to talk to anyone else, I’m going to Chelsea’. What he told me, the team he wanted to make, what he thought of me, how he wanted me to play, this is what I wanted. On top of that, it’s London, not Manchester, London was my home

I knew this would have repercussions with Arsenal, it would have been the same with City or United but I wanted to go back to the Premier League. Thank god that I took that decision because those five years I was very happy there, we’ve won everything in England, the best team in English football when I was there. With the fans there was a connection that was impeccable

2020 03 24b Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas claims Xabi Alonso was begging for a move to Arsenal when exit doors opened at Liverpool] I was on the phone with Xabi the whole summer, he was dying to come, he was literally begging everyone to go to Arsenal. He really wanted to come, I did my best - I spoke to who I had to speak, I gave my opinion, I thought that he was a fantastic addition for us at that time. A couple of times like that I was frustrated at the lack of push, that it’s so close - the player is dying to come, it’s so easy to make this deal. I’m not a director, I see it from a player’s point of view. When I see it as a player wants to go somewhere it’s easy, normally it should happen and Xabi Alonso was one of them. I remember I was talking to him the whole holiday, he was texting me saying ‘What’s happening?’, it was a shame because I think he would have been a great addition to that team. He was made for Arsenal I think

2020 03 25 Retrieve

[Fabregas explains decision to leave Arsenal in 2011] I was the captain, I always felt so much pressure on myself. I had to lead this team to win something. I gave everything. Sometimes, I used to go home after we lost and I used to cry. I used to suffer, I used to spend sleepless nights suffering. And then you lose a game, you’re in the bus like this, destroyed, and then you hear some players laughing, thinking about where they will be going out later. This was going on for a few years. We were playing beautiful football and I enjoyed that side of things but I was putting pressure on myself to lead, to do everything and at one point I felt kind of lonely. Especially in the last two or three years, I felt Robin and Samir were the only players - it’s not an arrogant thing to say, it’s how I felt at that time - were the players who were at my level mentally and technically. Many things came in my head, I have to admit I was a bit empty, I was drained mentally, physically, in my soul knowing I’m giving everything, knowing a few signings the club could have made but didn’t happen. Seeing some behaviours from certain players or something like this made me feel I wanted to check something else. If it was not because of that, I would not have left Arsenal at that time

2020 03 25b Retrieve

[Monaco midfielder Fabregas criticises French response to coronavirus] Three or four days ago, I had to go to the supermarket to buy food for dinner. And to tell the truth, I did not like what I saw, in the sense that there were people without gloves, without masks, not respecting distances. In the fruit and vegetable department, there were people gathered, touching the food without gloves. I saw one person, without gloves, picking up and putting down food because he didn’t like it. We still have a lot to do

In Monaco, in general there is little movement, sometimes you see someone running or walking the dog. Anyway, in my house we are seven people, so there is little time to get bored. There was a day when they let us go to the club to get things to set up a small gym at home. We will be at home for at least six more weeks. So it is difficult for all the championships to end, unless the competition ends in July

2020 03 28 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas on Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri] I was the captain, I always felt so much pressure on myself. I had to lead this team to win something. I gave everything. Sometimes, I used to go home after we lost and I used to cry, I used to suffer, I used to spend sleepless nights suffering. And then you lose a game, you’re in the bus like this, destroyed, and then you hear some players laughing, thinking about where they will be going out later. This was going on for a few years. Yeah, we were playing beautiful football and I enjoyed that side of things. But I was putting pressure on myself to lead, to do everything, and at one point I felt kind of lonely. Especially in the last two or three years, I felt Robin and Samir were the only players who were at my level mentally and technically. It’s not an arrogant thing to say, it’s how I felt at that time

2020 04 01 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas has name Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho as the best two managers he has worked under during his illustrious career] I had the best in the world, so I cannot complain. Wenger and Mourinho

[Mourinho certainly won the midfielder over while at Chelsea] I love him. I owe him a lot because he brought me here and I will always remember that. Arsene always treated me like a son and it was amazing but the closest anyone else has been to him was Jose. The way he treated me, the way he made me feel, how he let me be a leader of the Chelsea team from day one and believed in me, this was fantastic and will always stay with me. It [this experience at Chelsea] is thanks to him. Our history, what had happened between us before I came, made it even more remarkable. When I played for Arsenal, he was with Chelsea. When I was at Barcelona, he was with Real Madrid. We were confronting each other but then we humbled ourselves and started a good relationship

2020 04 20 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas is convinced that Lionel Messi will finish his career as a one-club man and retire at Barcelona] I speak with Messi and his idea has always been to end his career at Barcelona. Many things can happen at a club but I am fully confident that his career will end at Barca

Cristiano is 35 and Leo is about to turn 33, they’re getting old. I would sign Mbappe, for his youth, talent, commitment and mentality. I would go for him to have him at his peak for the next 10 years. Then there are players like Neymar or [Erling] Haaland that are up there, but on talent, goalscoring ability and speed, Mbappe is a player that reminds me of [Thierry] Henry. I watched him from further back up the pitch and it was delightful how he would chase a long pass of yours into space

[Real Madrid were one of the clubs interested in his signature at his peak, and it is a move he refuses to rule out - although it would be more likely on the bench rather than the pitch] You can never say never. As a player maybe that door is closed, but as a coach you might say it is different because you can train up to 30 teams in your career. The contracts are longer for players and as a coach you have more of a chance because you can get the sack two days in.

2020 04 29 Retrieve

[Monaco star Fabregas reveals great-grandmother has beaten Covid-19] My great-grandmother is a super-heroine, but none of this would be possible without the help of all the nurses and doctors who are giving their lives at every moment so that all of us can be better and live a little better in such difficult times. All our respect. Nothing is impossible

2020 05 02 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas sends a message of support to nurses and doctors on his Twitter page after his grandmother survived COVID-19] She has overcome coronavirus at 95 years of age. Yesterday the test came out negative! My great-grandmother is a super heroine but none of this would have been possible had it not been for the help of the nurses and doctors who are giving their lives at each moment so that we can all be better and live a little bit better during these difficult times

2020 05 06 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas says Hazard has been a little self-conscious at Real Madrid, but I predict a great future] He has played several good games with Madrid, but it is true that sometimes I have seen him a little self-conscious. He has always been a player who has had a hard time starting seasons. Even so, I predict a great future

2020 05 06b Retrieve

[Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas has claimed that Paris Saint-Germain ace Kylian Mbappe boasts a skill set and playing style that would see him flourish at Real Madrid] He is a very hungry boy who wants to be the best. Because of his style of play, he would fit in very well at a team like Real Madrid.

[Fabregas has also come up against Camavinga] In terms of conditioning, he’s brutal, very strong. He doesn’t look his age at all

I have already mentioned it before on other occasions. There were plenty of possibilities to sign [with Real Madrid] but, in the end, where I wanted to play was Barcelona. It doesn’t matter who the team was, that’s all in the past now. It was two or three seasons ago but it wasn’t a good time

2020 05 07 Retrieve

[Mbappe awarded Ligue 1 golden boot after season ended early] He is a very hungry boy who wants to be the best. Because of his style of play, he would fit in very well at a team like Real Madrid

2020 05 10 Retrieve

[Monaco star Cesc Fabregas feels the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season may have been cancelled too soon amid the coronavirus pandemic] It was a big decision that was made and I can understand why they took it. Although I completely understand the meaning behind it and it’s better to be safe in all accounts, because the most important is the families and the health security of everyone and support this 100 per cent. But maybe we could’ve considered individual training, where you have basically no risk. You’re not touching anyone, you’re not close to anyone. See if everyone was getting closer to football behind played all over the world. Obviously, it’s very difficult and I understand someone needs to make decisions. We just have to do what they’re telling us. Difficult moment in our professional lives and personal lives, but we just have to hold on and everything will be fine in the future for sure.

2020 05 14 Retrieve

[Fabregas reveals continued Gunners affinity despite Chelsea move] I am and it will be part of me for the rest of my life. I would never have thought I would have mixed feelings between these two teams, but you go there and you meet people, you win titles, become important and win titles. You end up having so much love for the club. You are right. You don’t forget where you come from and I came from Barcelona academy and I will never forget that, but to make it on the biggest level was at Arsenal and I don’t forget that. I was so lucky to come in at that moment, to see you, Ashley (Cole), Robert (Pires), Patrick (Vieira), Sol (Campbell). The management at the club gave me so much leadership and everything I needed to be a top player. I will never deny that I will always be an Arsenal man in my heart. Football has so many turnarounds but I will never forget the connection with the fans and I had so much love at Arsenal and Chelsea. No can ever hear me say anything bad about Arsenal, even when I went to Chelsea and won there, and then won the league

2020 05 17 Retrieve

[Hertha Berlin’s Dedryck Boyata and Marko Grujic also puckered up during their victory over Hoffenheim. Falcao’s puzzled reaction to the new law was shared by Fabregas] You can’t celebrate goals together? Didn’t know this one. I feel like I’m watching a training session. You can hear all players and coaches shouting. Now we will value the power of the fans even more. Captains choosing pitch sides with three meters distance when straight away they have to fight for every ball against each other face to face.

2020 05 23 Retrieve

[Fabregas reveals Man Utd tried to sign him at 15] I was 15. I was the captain of that team. I was well valued. On top of me there was [Andres] Iniesta, other players that you could see they had the potential to make it. One day a scout from Arsenal came to talk to my parents and he wanted to discuss a few things with me. I always like to listen. After you make up your own mind but just out of respect [I like to listen]. We did that and the guy told me he’d been to see me over 50 times. He said I was made to play for Arsenal and in the Premier League. He started showing me everything he studied from my game, he called Arsene Wenger to take me to London Colney and David Dein to make me an offer and show me the training ground. At that time I had Man Utd as well. I was supposed to make two trips, London and Manchester, and when I went to London Colney, in the middle of June, everyone was on holiday. Wenger was in Paris. He flew by private jet to meet me. David Dein (then Arsenal vice-chairman) came to meet me. This shocked me. Wow… Wenger. I’m 15 years old, I’m absolutely nobody, and this guy is breaking up his holiday to come and meet me. We were talking, he spoke to my mother, showed me the training ground. I fell in love with the whole project

It was a bit of everything. I always felt that we were competing against the world. Let’s say you guys (Manchester United), Chelsea, sometimes Liverpool. I speak to guys at Chelsea and my Spanish friends at Liverpool and everyone tells me the same … ‘we used to hate playing against you guys’. And I say the same: ‘Yeah, you used to hate it, but we always lost’. Especially in important moments. I always felt so frustrated to see these big teams winning and always having that edge. I was very young, I was very passionate. I gave absolutely everything for Arsenal. I was hungry. I wanted to win. I was a competitor. I would’ve done anything to win for Arsenal. I felt this wasn’t coming. We had opportunities to sign big players that would make such a big difference but for one little thing or another, very small details they were looking away. A lot of things frustrated me and I just decided to go back to Barcelona. They were the best team in the world at that time. With all my friends there. I took the chance but earlier than I would’ve wanted. I just felt it was the right time. My brain was a little bit gone. Deep down, thinking now, I think I should’ve waited two more years

2020 05 23b Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas has revealed his frustration at the manner in which Manchester United ended Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten run back in 2004] We were so disappointed. We were angry, we were upset. It had to come to an end, the 49 games, it can happen at Old Trafford against a great Man Utd side. But I think it’s the way it happened. First of all, Gary Neville, what he did to Antonio Reyes … mamma mia! But every single time he had the ball! Wayne [Rooney] dived for the penalty against Sol [Campbell]. The emotion was that we had lost against a great team, which can happen, but we didn’t feel we should’ve lost. We didn’t feel it was the right time to lose our invincible run. Everyone was really, really upset

2020 05 23c Retrieve

[What Mourinho told Fabregas to convince him to join Chelsea] Jose has one system but he works on that system very well. He’s got the specific players for the right system. One day, when I first met him he told me ‘I need two players, I’m going to sign Diego Costa. If you come to me…’, he drew me the team on paper and said ‘this team is winning the title’. The first day I met him he said ‘I only need two players: Diego, who is basically signed’ and then Thibaut Courtois was coming but if not it was Petr Cech. It’s basically the same. But he said: ‘you come, we will win the title’. After that, working with him, he’s probably the coach that played with my mind better. He’s a great coach for great players. He plays with the mind. He stimulates you. One day, we were doing very well in the league and he texts to tell you how good you are, how you played so well … [but then] ‘today you were rubbish’. Like this, he plays with you

[Reflecting on his time with Mourinho at Stamford Bridge] It was fantastic. It couldn’t be any better. If you asked me when I was 23, captain of Arsenal, that I could be so happy to have played for Chelsea over the years and being so happy there and having won what we won, I would’ve said that you’re crazy. But my understanding with the fans, with the club, with everyone that works there and the players, I was so happy. I felt that I fit in so well. We had some great coaches, again you could see that’s it a club that wants to win. That it’s hungry for titles. You need to compete always until the end to win. That’s what I wanted. I knew going with Mourinho could be a big step forward in my career

2020 06 15 Retrieve

[Cesc Fabregas says Arteta has a ‘much harder job’ on his hands at Arsenal than Lampard does at Chelsea] Chelsea took a gamble with Frank because it was only his second year as a main coach and he’s done very well. With Mikel, it’s a little bit of the same. He’s been with Pep [Guardiola] for three years, and I’m sure he’s like a master for any young coach that wants to start being a manager. I think he’s done well [so far] and I’m sure he’s brought back some values to the club that was needed. Obviously it’s a much harder job than Chelsea in terms of rebuilding the squad, and they are very young, and they had problems because [Arteta] started much further down the line than Chelsea, but I’m positive that they will pick up very soon and that next season could be the one for them