Cesc Fabregas signed for Barcelona today but took time to praise Arsene Wenger and the football club which had been his home for the last eight years.
“Wenger is very special and is like a second father for me. I can never thank him for all he has given me. If I am here today it is largely thanks to him. I have a special relationship with Wenger and he didn’t want me to go for 29, nor 40 or 80 million. He always made that clear but common sense prevailed. I will never forget what he has done for me.
“I couldn’t even talk when I wanted to say how grateful I was for what he has done to me, so I had to send a message afterwards saying thanks for everything”.
And as he penned a 5 year deal at his boyhood club he paid tribute to Arsenal. “Today I am not at Arsenal but the club is always bigger than any player. Saying goodbye to my teammates was a tough day, very sad, but life goes on and I have a great challenge here.
“I came to Arsenal when I was 16. At 18 I played a Champions League final. At 21 I was already captain. It was beyond all my expecations, but I come here with a lot of humility”.
The summer was difficult for Arsenal fans and there was frustration at Cesc’s part in the deal but he revealed he was under orders from the club to stay quiet.
“I am sorry I couldn’t say anything for the last two and half months, Arsenal would not allow me to talk, I was disappointed and upset about that but it had to be like that. I still have, personally, a great relationship with them and I am disappointed to have maybe lost some of the fans.
“I am sorry I couldn’t say anything, I am sorry. I was very, very sad to be leaving. I spent a third of my life there – eight years. That is the biggest regret I will have in my career – not to be able to lift a trophy as Arsenal captain.”