Spanish footballing maestro Cesc Fabregas has waved goodbye to English football, this time for the final time in a teary farewell in Chelsea’s FA Cup victory against Nottingham Forest. The World Cup winner had two prolific spells in the Premier League, first with Arsenal then with Chelsea after departing his native country Spain with Barcelona. As one of the most dazzling and creative midfielders of his generation, we look back at his legacy in the English top flight.
Fabregas, scouted by a certain Arsene Wenger in his early youth career at Barcelona, was lured away to the Gunners in 2003 after he sensed that playing time in Spain was soon going to be hard to come by. He made a quick transition to the first team and became Arsenal’s youngest ever player at 16 years and 177 days before coming Arsenal’s youngest ever goalscorer after netting in a 5-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup. He was a first team member of the Gunners invincible squad in the 2003-04 season but did not earn a winner’s medal because he failed to make an appearance in the Premier League.
Fabregas continued to be a bright spot in a team that soon struggled for trophies. That did not stop him, however, from earning countless personal accolades, most notable being his nomination for Premier League Player of the Year AND Young Player of the Year.
As the years went on, Arsenal’s debt from their construction of the Emirates Stadium turned the Gunners into a selling club. With Barcelona heavily interested, Arsenal had no choice but to sell back Fabregas to the team that they poached him from during his youth days. He left his beloved Arsenal scoring 46 goals, notching 86 assists and creating a whooping 466 goal scoring chances.
His time at Barcelona was marked with great success as he won almost every title possible, including the EUROs and the World Cup with Spain. In 2014, after speculation he may return to Arsenal, he signed for bitter London rivals Chelsea.
With fans branding him a snake, he did himself no favors in the eyes of the Emirates as he made an instant impact, recording 19 assists in the league to lead Chelsea to a dominant title charge. With Chelsea, he was playing the way he always did, but this time he was actually winning trophies in England, the only thing that was wrong during his time at Arsenal. The 2016-17 season marked a confusing but successful one in his career. Under new manager Antonio Conte, he was relegated to the bench after making way for N’golo Kante to sit alongside Nemanja Matic in the heart of midfield. When given his changes however, Fabregas was greatly prolific, scoring 5 goals and adding 11 assists in just 13 league starts as Chelsea marched to another Premier League title triumph. This season has been a difficult one for the Spaniard, appearing just 6 times in the league and getting his send off in the middle of the season.
Fabregas ends his Chelsea career with 2 Premier League titles, 1 FA Cup and 1 League Cup, scoring 22 goals and 57 assists in 198 games for the Blues. Fabregas is now rumored to join former teammate Thierry Henry at struggling Ligue 1 side Monaco.
Playing the football to give him international recognition as a teenager at Arsenal and winning trophies at Chelsea, Fabregas has forged quite the career in English football, but will Cesc be remembered more for his time at Chelsea or Arsenal?