Fabregas has today completed a permanent transfer to Monaco from Chelsea. He was always seen as a brilliant talent unearthed by Arsene Wenger and in his initial years in the Premier League, was the best midfielder.
He left Arsenal for his boyhood club Barcelona, won everything in Spain, and then came back to the Premier League to use his more matured play to deliver two Premier League trophies for the Blues.
His assists are only second to the great Ryan Giggs with Giggs having played a lot more than Cesc obviously. But Cesc is arguably the best foreign midfielder to have played in the Premier League. Here are the 5 best moments of Fabregas’ career in the Premier League.
1 Youngest player to have ever played for Arsenal
Cesc played his first match for Arsenal on October 28, 2003, against Rotterdam in a League Cup encounter. He was aged 16 years and 177 days, making him the youngest player to have ever played for Arsenal.
In December of the same year, he became the youngest goal-scorer too. Though he started featuring regularly in the premier league much later, these were the matches which gave him the confidence that he belonged here and Wenger was right in bringing the young man from Spain.
Fabregas grew from strength and strength and after Viera’s transfer to Juventus, he became the fulcrum around which Wenger formed his future teams. He was an integral part of the Gunners when they were going through a transition phase and he never betrayed them when it was tough for Arsenal to compete for Premier League glory. His style of play was pretty different from the typical English midfielders and he soon caught the eye of fans around England.
2 Captaining Arsenal
In November 2008, Fabregas captained Arsenal for the first time. Wenger had taken away the captaincy from William Gallas and informed the supporters that it will be Fabregas who will be leading the club. It was not a major successful campaign for Fabregas though as injury hampered his campaign for the Gunners.
But Captaining Arsenal at an age of 21 was something pretty huge for a Spaniard and spoke of how highly Wenger used to rate him. Fabregas has always spoken of the influence Arsene Wenger has had over his career and credit should surely go to Wenger for bringing out the best in Fabregas.
Cesc played in England till 2011 and was later transformed into a false 9 when he played for Barcelona. Even when he returned to the Premier League, he became a deep playmaker. His best creative years were when he played the #10 role in Arsene Wenger’s team.
3 Performances against Barcelona (09-10, 10-11)
Fabregas’s desire to leave Arsenal for Barcelona was a daily affair in the newspapers during that time. Wenger was highly irritated by the constant media buzz around the transfer. But Fabregas kept on providing some defining performances worthy of getting a mention.
In the quarterfinals of 2010, Arsenal were 2-0 down at home to Pep Guardiola’s team, when the Arsenal Captain showed grit and determination to get his team going and producing a great 2-2 against the best side in the world.
Fabregas played the second half with a fractured foot and even scored a penalty to keep Arsenal in the two-legged tie. In the 10-11 season, Fabregas and team got a historic 2-1 result against the Spaniard club at the Emirates. Fabregas was at the heart of everything that Arsenal created in both those matches.
Many also say that these two performances made it easy for the Barcelona bosses to g for his signature sooner rather than later.
4 Winning the Premier League with Chelsea
Jose Mourinho came back to Chelsea in the 2013-14 season to deliver some much-needed success to the club. In his first season, he tried to keep the team in the competition and also tried to figure out what pieces would be required fr a sustained challenge for the Premier League. That piece apparently was Cesc Fabregas.
After spending three highly successful years in Spain, Fabregas required a new challenge and Chelsea was a great place to get that. Fabregas was the best midfielder in the 2014-15 campaign. He and Matic formed a lethal partnership and Fabregas provided all the ammunition for Willian and Costa to pounce upon.
Fabregas had more assists than Ozil and Silva and that spoke of the qualities which made him a great player during his time at Arsenal. The season also showed his ability to evolve his game as he had transformed into a deep-lying playmaker rather than the all-action midfielder he was at Arsenal.
5 Second Premier League title in 2016-17
Mourinho’s third season curse continued and Chelsea and Fabregas had a forgettable 2015-16 season when Leicester City surprised everyone with a great run.
Fabregas was not expected to play an important part in Antonio Conte’s Chelsea team in the new season. Conte’s hardworking and high tempo style was seen a bit too much for Fabregas’ age as well his natural game.
But Conte did realize it soon that Fabregas was the most important 12th player for Chelsea who could fill up various roles. Many time he came up for Matic to provide the creativity required to complement Kante’s play. Many times he became the winger in a front three with Costa and Hazard.
Cesc played in each of Chelsea’s final 31 games, most of the times as a substitute, but an impactful substitute though. Fabregas had the highest number of assists in the Chelsea team which consisted of Hazard, Willian, and Pedro.