Cesc Fabregas was brought back to Barcelona for around £ 35 million, which many believed was reasonable sum of money for one of the best midfielders in the world. However, many said that Barcelona did not need a player like Cesc Fabregas since they already had the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi in the midfield. Further, the emergence of Sergio Busquets has also made them extremely strong in this area. Despite this, Pep Guardiola went ahead and brought him to the Camp Nou. After being criticised for his performances initially, Fabregas has become a mainstay at Barcelona.
He has been so good for the club that they are believed to be looking at the possibility of letting Xavi leave in the summer. The 35-year-old has been linked with clubs from North America as he looks for one final payday. Fabregas, though, has rejected suggestions saying that he could be the Xavi by saying that the former Barcelona youth team player cannot be replaced. He says that there is no other option for the club but to change its style once Xavi leaves the club. Carlos Puyol has already announced that he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season and he is widely expected to retire.
The same fate could befall Xavi as well.
“I don’t see myself replacing Xavi. Xavi is unique. No matter how hard we look, Xavi is a one and only. Whoever replaces him [in the starting XI] will have to be very strong mentally and the team and the fans will have to get used to playing differently. The day Xavi is not in Barcelona, we will see a different team. I don’t know if it’ll be better or worse but it’ll be different for sure,” said Fabregas. Barcelona have already been looking to alter their style of play this season.
Fabregas spent 7 seasons playing in Arsenal as he started his Arsenal career in 2003 and concluded in 2010 and even though many fans agree with his decision of joining Barcelona, there are others that even consider the Spanish midfielder to be a traitor as he left Arsenal on a time that the Premier League club needed to win trophies and needed all the support they could get.
“I know some people felt bad when I left and they didn’t understand my reasons, they considered I left in bad manners. The people, who need to know the reasons, know them. The most important figure was Arsene Wenger and I have to be grateful all my life to him.” Fabregas said.
“This team has been the best for a very long time and when you play with the best, they want you to be one of them. For that, you need consistency and I feel I have that now, and I’m probably going through my best spell here’’. Fabregas added.
Fabregas has been featured in over 80 matches for Barcelona and his time playing alongside the Brazilian Neymar has reminded him of Johan Cruyff as the former Arsenal player compared Neymar to the Dutch legend.
“He reminds me of Cruyff. I never got to see him play live, but Cruyff had an incredible change of rhythm, like Neymar. He starts fast, slows down suddenly, then starts again with a lot of speed. I also remember him having the same speed when driving forward.” Fabregas told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Neymar is a versatile player that can play either as an attacking midfielder, a forward or a winger and Barcelona signed him from Santos with a price tag of €57 million and he is already being compared to Cruyff, at least according to Fabregas.
Barcelona will be taking on Manchester City in the first Champions league knockout stages. It is one of the high-profile match of this stage since both the teams are favourites to win the title. City may not have taken part in this stage of the competition before, but they are complete as a team according to Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas. He says that the Catalan club need to be at the best if they need to think about playing in the quarter-finals. Barcelona have been one of the most successful teams in the tournament over the last few years having won this trophy three times since 2006.
This will be a stern test for the club, who are struggling to find a new direction under Gerardo Martino. The style of play has been criticised by several members this season, as the Argentine has tried to introduce long balls into Barcelona’s football. City have spent more than £ 1 billion in transfer fees alone since the takeover of Abu Dhabi owners. As a result, they have one of the strongest squads in Europe with top quality players available as reserves for each position. Further, City recently welcomed the Sergio Aguero back from injury. The former Atletico Madrid striker is the top scorer for the club this campaign.
“I’ve seen them 10 or 12 times, I know them well. They have a very complete, balanced and competitive squad. They can break from very deep with Yaya Toure as their leader and they have players who can change games such as (Samir) Nasri, David Silva and Jesus Navas. Kun Aguero is very competitive for them in attack and I think Alvaro Negredo has found a style of football that really suits him. It will be a very difficult game,” said Fabregas ahead of the match in February.
The former Arsenal player participated in a Questions and Answers section with fans on Facebook as he went on talking about what he does apart from football and things he enjoys to do in his spare time. Alexis Sanchez also was a talking point for the Spanish midfielder.
“I think that Alexis will be a star for Barça and the world of football. He’s a good lad and a good friend,” says Cesc
“I like to be with my family and with my friends on my free time, especially with my daughter who always gives me special moments. I also like to go to restaurants and eat sushi,” said Fàbregas, who noted that he’s motivated “to be better each day.”
When asked about Alexis Sánchez, Cesc said that Chilean is a special player. “I think that Alexis has it all to be a great star at Barça and in the world of football. He’s a good lad and a good friend of mine,”
Fans also asked the midfielder about which would be the best moment of his career and if he has anyone in particular that he considers being his favorite one.
“The best moment of my career was probably when we won the Club World Cup and all the trophies I’ve won with Barça,” said Cesc, who added that the two penalties he scored in the Euro Cup against Italy and Portugal were the most important ones of his career, but his favorite was “the one against Milan, at the San Siro, when I was at Arsenal.
Fabregas continued by saying that he has learned from Tata Martino what truly is hard work and honest when asked about the Argentinian manager and Tito Vilanova said that “both are great managers and I learnt a lot from them. I want to send a big hug to Tito.”
Barcelona will be going into the champions league encounter against Celtic without star player Lionel Messi, who had to be substituted early on in the match against Almeria during the weekend. He has suffered a muscle injury, which troubled him during the early parts of his Barcelona career. Messi has been one of the – if not the best – player in the world over the last few years. He has won four FIFA Ballon d’Or awards in succession, which is a record. Undoubtedly, every team will miss the services of such a player.
Cesc Fabregas, though, have said that it is up to the other players in the team to rise up to the challenge and play well in the absence of Messi. Fabregas will know all about Celtic after having played against the Scottish club numerous times while at Barcelona and at his former club Arsenal. Barcelona also lost to Celtic at Celtic Park last season, which will be in the memories. A victory for Barcelona will put them on step closer towards qualification already after having secured a 4-0 win over Ajax in the first group match.
Milan are expected to be the main challengers in the group, but they are also in a poor run of form. It is now in the hands of Barcelona to run away with the group.
“Messi is the best player in the world, he makes a difference, but he won’t play (against Celtic). We can’t do anything about that. Without Messi, we will all have to take more responsibility. We have to step up, don’t feel his absence and play football without him. I might have more offensive responsibilities. I will try and help the team as a striker or whatever other position I play. Now I feel confident, in good shape and the manager trusts me,” said Fabregas.