Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cesc Fabregas calls time on his playing career

Cesc Fabregas has announced his retirement as a professional footballer after 20 years.

The 36-year-old has spent the last 12 months plying his trade for Serie B side Como where he is also a shareholder.

The World Cup winner hasn’t hidden his ambitions to become a coach and recently returned to Arsenal to undertake his training badges following an invitation from Jack Wilshere. He’ll start his new journey in the dugout with Como’s B and Primavera teams.

Recruited from Barcelona at the age of 16, Fabregas made his debut for the Gunners in a League Cup match against Rotherham in 2003 becoming in the process the club’s youngest ever player. He never looked back, scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the next round against Wolves.

After impressing in the Community Shield (with a superb mullet) in August 2004, the Spaniard became a mainstay in the first team as Arsene Wenger began planning for life without Patrick Vieira. Following the Frenchman’s departure for Juventus, Fabregas was handed the keys to the midfield and was instrumental in the run to the 2005/06 Champions League final.

As the Invincibles were gradually broken up and Arsenal moved from Highbury to Emirates Stadium, a young side was built around Fabregas’ supreme talent. While silverware evaded them, most notably in the 2007/08 season, their intricate pass-and-move football was, on its best days, exhilarating and later came to be known by the moniker ‘Wengerball’.

Along the way, the youngster inherited the Arsenal captaincy and started adding goals to his game; plenty of corkers too, including fine strikes home and away against Sp*rs and that strike at AC Milan.

All the while, Barcelona, irked that such a gem had been stolen from under their noses, plotted a reunion.

After a couple of years of intense flirting, the inevitable finally happened in 2011. Despite the best efforts of Arsene Wenger to persuade Fabregas to stay in North London the draw of a return home and the chance to play with Lionel Messi and under Pep Guardiola proved too much. He departed for a fee of €34 million.

He was a genuine superstar at this point having been a member of Spain’s victorious squads at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, where he provided the assist for Andres Iniesta’s winner against Holland in the final.

At the Nou Camp, he won the Copa del Rey, La Liga, the Uefa Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup but, surprisingly, not the Champions League. There was also further success with Spain at Euro 2012.

Fabregas turned down a move to Manchester United in 2013 but it was clear he fancied a return to the Premier League. Arsenal had the right to buy him back (and probably should have done) but Wenger opted against the move having already packed out his midfield with the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey, Cazorla, Rosicky, Diaby and club-record signing Mesut Ozil.

The ensuing £30 million move to Chelsea is a chapter most Arsenal fans would rather forget. Fabregas’ impact at Stamford Bridge was immediate as the Blues won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup within three years.

In 2019 he moved to Monaco but injuries took a toll and he only managed 68 appearances before deciding to wind things down at Como.

While some Arsenal fans will never forgive Cesc for the way he engineered his move to Barcelona, few can deny he was one of the best players to wear the red and white. He’s also a long-term Arseblog reader and was happy to be interviewed by Blogs three years ago.

It’s a shame he didn’t win more than the 2005 FA Cup as a Gooner, but perhaps he’ll scratch that itch as a coach. We wouldn’t be surprised…

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PGunner

Happy retirement, Cesc. Thank you for being an Arsenal player from a crazy young age that I adored watching. Good luck in your future endeavours bro.

VAR will solve all the problems

I was really pissed when he left. Now I look back I see what he saw in that Arsenal team. We never really couldn’t compete for the league at that time, may be due to the budget constraints who knows. Also the temptation to play with Messi and Iniesta must have been too strong. So frustration was real when he left. We should have brought him back once he was available. Instead Wenger put his faith on Mesut and Cesc went on to win the league with the cunts with the cunt master in charge! What was supposed to be… Read more »

Mikels Arteta

Wasn’t it something about he’d have taken game time from Jack and Aaron at that time? I could be wrong
I was gutted we didn’t resign him, considering he wanted the move. In hindsight the injuries problems those 2 had would have meant a starting role more or less. Ozil X Fabregas X Sanchez would have produced some great moments

Kubaz

I shouldn’t be laughing this early in the day at ‘cunt master’, but here I am…

Kojo

I couldn’t care less about him, bottom line is he left when we needed him most and I haven’t cared a bit about him since and certainly not now!

Doghouse

Why would anyone thumbs down on your post ?, he left to play for his childhood club Barcelona, he wanted to return but Arsene didn’t want him, sad that some of our supporters booed him in a Chelsea shirt but thats their prerogative, he clearly loved our club, i do hope he stays around our club collecting his coaching badges with Miki under his wing, what an inspiration for academy players to have this ex arsenal player to learn from . All the best to Cesc in his future career hopefully at Arsenal

A Different George

Yeah, I don’t care about that other stuff. Always a Gunner.

I miss santi cazorla

August 2011,
Fabregas left for Barcelona
Arteta came in to replace him and the rest is the history.

Johnny 4 Hats

Absolutely fantastic player. But, like Sanchez, should have realised what a privilege it is to play for the Arsenal.

A great career. But he was statue worthy.

Rest well Cesc. I have no doubt we’ll see him in a coaching capacity at the club in the not too distant future.

gooner

Probably a statue of Pepe Reina putting a Barcelona shirt over his head

Badaab

Doubt we’ll see him anywhere in an official role for the club considering he’s an owner of the Como team.

Johnny 4 Hats

Oh, cool. Didn’t know that.

So… Owner of an Italian football club…

I have no doubt will see him in the defendants dock in the not too distant future.

Medium Mozart

Haha!

Johnny 4 Hats

You have a fantastic sense of humour.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Haha!

Heavenly Chapecoense

When I come here and complain relentlessly about the lack of winning mentality, I could have just said to finish with it: “We need more players like Cesc Fabregas”. Two additional players like him during his time and we would have won it a couple of times.

Johnny 4 Hats

I agree. Special player both internally and externally.

But I’m an Arsenal fan before I’m a Cesc fan.

And I think he could have achieved more at Arsenal. He left a side with Ramsey, Rosicky, RVP, Arshavin, Wilshere, Theo, Koscielny, Sagna, Szcz. Maybe even Nasri stays if Fab stays.

I’ll always look at his career and think “What if you’d stayed at Arsenal”

Johnny 4 Hats

Having said that, if we don’t sell Cesc then maybe we don’t buy Arteta that same summer.

So…

Thank you Cesc! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Keni

Sometimes it’d be nice to look at it from the player’s perspective. The pull of arsenal wasn’t to be compared with a Barca team that boasted such immense talents under Guardiola. At the end of the day, a player plays to win trophies and he can gladly say at his retirement ‘winning all in Spain’ because of that move to Barcelona. So fair play to him. Just like the rest of us at our jobs, there are things we put into consideration before making career defining moves. At least he gave us his best while pulling on the red and… Read more »

Ethan Hunt

Agreed based on his pure ability but not his mentality.. He was whining, moaning a lot when he was engineering a move back to his beloved Barca ala ‘I missed having my brother Flamini and etc etc….”. Not something I like to hear from the then captain and especially not from someone earmarked by Arsene to be the cornerstone of his next Arsenal team. Maybe that burden of responsibility was too heavy for such a young child to bear after all. Furthermore, later on at Barca if us fans, and playing for Arsenal have ever means anything to him,..he could… Read more »

Mayor McCheese

If they do make a statue, I hope it’s modeled after the mullet pic at the top.

Ebo

Wasn’t such a great privilege to play for us at that time unfortunately, at least compared to his hometown team. I would’ve loved him to stay but as a club we didn’t do enough for him to want to do so, and as much as I still hate Barca for how they handled that saga it’s hard to hold it against Cesc to want to play with his childhood friends in his hometown for the best coach in one of the best teams ever assembled

Mootilated

Serie B? Wow. Great career. Always a Gunner

Goonertic

Lake Como is an absolutely beautiful area. I imagine it will be a great place for him to get some experience under his belt. I genuinely hope it all goes well for him. In my opinion, a great ambassador for the game. I am sure every Goonertic wishes him all the best in life,

Ilari

I don’ even remember the Barca/Chelsea stuff, I only remember the 16 year old Cesc that came in and in the end was the best player of the Emirates era. Legend.

Eric Blair

The mind plays tricks, probably for the best.

Ethan Hunt

😁😁😁

Shano

My earliest memory of him was when he scored a goal in whatever the league cup was called at 15. Id love to be annoyed with Cesc for leaving but in fairness we never tried to build around him

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Easily the best of the Emirates era

Goonertic

What a player! A brilliant passer of the ball. Who could forget that goal against the totts from the kick off?
oh! and Fergie says thanks for the pizza.

Badaab

I’m one of those people who never forgave him. The grass isn’t always greener at that cement hole of a stadium in barcelona, and I’m glad their fickle fans gave him grief after he turned his back on the club, manage, and fans who made his career.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I’d say his talent is what made his career

meletios

Unfortunately no…probably the most common saying in the game is ‘talent alone is not enough..you need a lot of other things to go for you to realize the talent’. In this case , someone to take a chance on you, have belief, take time to develop and provide opportunities being some of them. As some would realise, I still remember the frankly disrespectful way he left. He came to Arsenal because he was not afforded the same opportunities to progress at Barca as some others…Wenger made him… And then… he went back again. Barca (mostly fans) started hating on him… Read more »

AusGunner

Christ, what a player. While everyone this year rightly said that we should just take a step back and enjoy being good at football again, it makes you sad because where was that “this is great and fun” spirit in 07-08, for example? we should’ve enjoyed “the Fabregas years” more, because the football was incredible at times, and he played a huge part in that. Shows you don’t actually need trophies to leave indelible imprints on your football consciousness, and Cesc will always mean more to us as the embodiment of that exquisite footballing ideal than he does to Chelsea… Read more »

Arsenalfanthem

Cesc was almost Arsene Wenger’s avatar on the pitch. The definition of Wengerball. We should have won something with that team but the football was unforgettable.

assistantref

Would have without that criminal tackle on Eduardo.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

It seems like just the other day, he made his debut.
Absolute legend, and definitely a top 5 Arsenal player, that I’ve seen

CactusLizard

Completely agree, he was unplayable and covered so much ground. I remember him and RVP coming on as a sub during the first game of the season after the 2010 world cup final. They raised the quality of the game so much, it was obvious they were a different class.

Tim N14

That goal from the kickoff against Spurs….

Probably my favourite player 2005-2019 era – best of luck Cesc

Anders Limpar

I can’t be bitter about Cesc, water under the bridge. For 8 wonderful years he was everything an Arsenal midfielder should be and I will always be grateful to him for those years.

Dave

Big Wenger mistake not bringing him back.

MojoWillneny

Mentored by the Invincibles. Starting Champion’s League Final at 18. Dominant Prem midfielder from age 18-25/6. Bright light of Arsenal through very dark post-Invincibles times. Creating the World Cup winning goal against Holland. Permanent fixture in the greatest midfield any national team has ever produced.

Legend of Arsenal, Legend of the game.

Medium Mozart

Saw him make his debut. Looked great on the night, and you could tell he was special from the get-go. Turned out to be a fabulous player for us, and gave us so many special moments.

I understand some may still be upset by the way it ended between him and the club (and yeah, we should definitely have re-signed him when we had the chance) but a lot of time has passed since then, and I wish him nothing but the best in whatever comes next.

Cheers, Cesc.

Jeff

Fuck him

PGunner

Div

Kyle

Visiting the UK in 2003 from South Africa, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Highbury for a match – a true privilege. At the time I thought it was a bit of a ‘nothing’ game in the grand scheme of the club’s fortunes, but it turns out it was the Rotherham game mentioned in the article – Cesc’s debut – so it actually ended up being quite historic.

20 years have come and gone and I’m choosing to remember the good times of a phenomenal player and inspirational footballing force.

Thank you and good luck, Cesc.

Dave Cee

I was there too. Didn’t even know we had signed the guy until I read The Evening Standard in the stadium whilst buying a coffee. Was gobsmacked to see him start and then watch him play like a matador, baiting and toying with the Rotherham midfield. Unreal. And the penalty shoot out, wow.

Teryima Adi

Glad you had a glorious career, Cesc. Continue to soar higher and higher in all your future endeavours.

Glenn Helder Trio

Chapeau! One of the best in red and white this century, thanks for everything Cesc and happy retirement!

215Arse

I’ll never forget that solo goal against Spuds. Absolute banger that visibly annihilated any chance Spurs thought they had.

Leon

I understand why he wanted to go back to his boyhood club at the peak of his career.
What I don’t understand is why we only got 35 million euros for him and why he later signed for Chelsea – that I especially don’t understand.
Still, he achieved much including the youngest ever player to throw a pizza at Alex Ferguson..

M H

We only got 35m because Barca were the only club that he wanted to go to and pushed for a move to them. We were really over a barrel on that one.

Ozzie

Favourite cesc moments:
– that Sp*rs goal right from kick off and then the f*ck you celebration,
– scoring a pen v barca with a broken leg,
– coming off the bench (still injured) while beiing hammered v villa to score twice and win it,
– (at chelsea) getting red card for kicking the ball at someone’s head… from 30 yards away!!!!

Gunnerlocutor

Wow I had forgotten the substitute appearance against Villa where injured Cesc came on to win the game. That was something!

TimeIsDancing

I remember having a poster of a 16 year old Cesc on my bedroom wall. ” Cesc Fabulous” it said. Was my favourite player growing up. Him moving to Barca was the most painful departure I experienced. How the time flies. All the best Cesc !

Ozzie

Thanks for using the mullet photo, that’s how I still remember him. He didn’t have it for his debut, but grew it really fast over summer, then cut it if shortly after the charity shield game.

Arsenalfanthem

He’s an all timer and along with Henry, the reason I fell in love with football especially Arsenal. Despite the Chelsea affiliation I will always have love for him, we should have brought him back. Hope he finds himself in the dugout alongside Mikel someday.

Ranbo

No matter what happened after he left, he will always have a special place in my heart

Billy bob

I can kinda understand him wanting to go back to Barca, didn’t help that we were at a crossroads due to the move, but going to Chavski and actually helping that scum buy more titles – that’s the bit that makes you wanna yak!!!

wrightstuff8

Cesc you absolute baller. It kills me your success in England came thru Chelsea but your still a gooner in my eyes.
Great pic btw blogs, I remember that mullet of his!!!

Ebo

Damn. Still my favourite ever Arsenal player, his pure unselfish genius for passing the ball, seeing the pitch and weighting passes perfectly was a daily delight for me even in an era where we didn’t achieve much. Really wish we could’ve surrounded him with better talent to entice him to stay, or at least have bought him back when he left Barca. Feels as much as his career was pretty spectacular, it wasn’t quite as spectacular as his all-world talent deserves. Farewell Cesc wish you the best in coaching and whatever else you take on with your genius and your… Read more »

PeanutGunner

As much as I love Wenger for what he did for the club, I will never forgive him for not bringing back Cesc. He felt spurned by him when he left for Barca, so didn’t want him back.

Happy Retirement Cesc, thank you for all the wonderful memories!

Ebo

Just stumbled across this video of him explaining how he felt a part of the Invincibles even if he wasn’t officially, happy for him to have that feeling of being a part of an Arsenal team that did something great

https://www.tiktok.com/@properfootballpod/video/7210288117696253189

Tierneys Tescobag

Absolute legend! For me, as a guy born in 93, he was the first real arsenal hero after the Henry era. A guy I absolutely adored, loved and cherished. I think he geniunly has nothing but love for arsenal and I have nothing but love for him. What a class player!

Fatgooner

Cesc was a great player but he’ll never be an Arsenal legend.

He walked out on us after we made him then joined his spiritual club, Barcelona. Sadly for him, he wasn’t good enough for them.

Then he joined the Chavs! Unforgivable!

He was a very talented player but not a great achiever at Arsenal.

But good luck to him for the future: he’ll probably end up as a pundit on Sky

Gunner1971

He was good enough for Barca all day long. That’s why they were so hungry and thirsty to get their hands on him. Problem was that he had to play out of position because they still had Xavi and Iniesta in their prime and they were integral to what they did. He couldn’t be the fulcrum of that team the way he was at Arsenal so he became unhappy and left. He proved his pedigree at Arsenal and Chelsea and even Spain despite having Xavi, Iniesta and Silva to contend with.

Ozzie

Ahem! Not a great achiever at Arsenal???? At the age of 20 he was single handedly carrying this squad like no other player in the 50 yrs I’ve been watching.

Baz

Never understood why we didn’t buy him back. Huge mistake from Wenger.
That list of midfielders above (Wilshere, Ramsey, Cazorla, Rosicky, Diaby) was the epitome of Arsenal’s injury woes. Not sure we ever saw them all fit at the same time. Rather naive on Wenger to think that Fabegras would not have played in front of some of those guys.

Press Box Gooner

Saw him score his first Arsenal goal when Wenger’s kids destroyed Wolves 5-0 in the League Cup and he went on to become one of the best players representing the club in the 50+ years I’ve been supporting them. But, in leaving for Barca, he was also responsible for one of the biggest disappointments.

Bob the gunner

Arsenal made him. Arsene Wenger made him. But he did them wrong by moving to Barcelona cheaply.

Der32

That CL game vs Juventus, when him & Henry masterminded a win vs star studded Juventus and Vieira. That was the moment I thought he would be our world beater. Instead he became a world beater outside Arsenal. Still hurts, and I hate Barcelona still for the way they bought him. Happy retirement Cesc. I hope Barcelona goes down with corruption and financial issues though.

truj

Go back to Barca with your DNA!

shokim

Cesc Fabregas – the poster child of Pizzagate. Wishing him all the best in the next chapter of his life.

Ebo

So many downvotes here on comments just showing him love. I guess a lot of Gooners still haven’t fully processed their feelings about him leaving or forgiven him for it… that’s a shame. Time to move on from that, it was a complicated situation and it’s ok to feel hurt and a shame for what might’ve been, but he has love for us, we should have love for him

Ethan Hunt

😭😭😭😭😭

wrightstuff8

I totally agree Ebo.
Even Fats’ has more thumbs up then down!

Fatgooner

That’s because I’m right. Seriously, if Cesc had just stayed and helped us through the bad times in those early days at the new stadium then we would all have loved him; instead he did a runner to Spain. He was ridiculously talented as a teenager but, for me, somehow never got the most out of his abilities. His dream of being a part of the glory years at Barca quickly turned to ashes, and he never found a home at another really big club. He was a very good player, but never a great one. And by deserting Arsenal… Read more »

Ozzie

I actually found Ramsey’s departure far harder to stomach – pretending he was negotiating a contract when in fact he was stalling to let it run out. He cost us a £40m+ transfer fee, yet he’s still a club legend.

Yes RVP did a runner but he was honest and said “I’m not signing another deal’.

Yes, Cesc did a runner but in his interview 3 yrs ago, he didn’t go as far as saying sorry, but did say he’d do it differently now.

I think Cesc and RVP left for footballing/trophy winning reasons, but Rambo left for money.

Ebo

Ramsey wasn’t the one who decided to leave, Arsenal withdrew his contract offer https://www.goal.com/en/news/why-arsenal-pulled-the-plug-on-offering-ramsey-a-new-deal/zizcsg4c0w2i1dd8s3o4xxga5 I wouldn’t describe him as a club legend though, maybe a minor one given he’s won us a couple of cups but I don’t think half as many people own Ramsey shirts as Cesc ones (not to mention any of our actual league-winning legends) despite him having played slightly longer for us and scored a few more goals than Cesc. Cesc was our talisman, our star and our best player for most of the time he played for us, that wasn’t the case for Ramsey other… Read more »

Der32

Rambo leaving was best for everyone. He got a final pay day playing with Cristiano. We got rid of his high wages and made room for other midfielders, aside from the fact Ramsey’s injury recore got even worse in Juventus. Cesc and RVP left when at their best and when the club needed them most.

Francesc

he is the reason I started supporting arsenal

Rick_Sanchez

Long gone are the days when these *insert your curse here* from Barcelona pulled a Barca shirt over one of our players.

On another note: Cesc was my favorite player growing up. I was gutted he left but can understand it in hindsight. The fact we didn’t take him back on the other hand was one of the bigger mistakes Arsene made. Back in the day we weren’t too far off the top and Cesc in his prime could’ve done wonders for us.

Scrubbychubby

Cesc retiring started a discussion between me and a friend – top 5 players of the Emirates era. Cesc and RVP, Sanchez as well probably pick themselves. I’d throw Cazorla in there too. 5th spot a bit trickier – Aaron Ramsay? Ozil, even Anyway, just had us thinking. Quite an interesting topic.

(arYse)

I hope he reads Arseblog news aswell, Cesc you were immense I’ll always remember that performance where you came up trumps against Vieira and Juve.

The iceman

In my eyes his playing career ended in 2011…should never have left. His and RVP departures hit particularly hard…the manner in which they left…teams they ended up playing for and what it signified in terms of where arsenal was as a club at that time. For cesc, he was the poster boy much of that project, much in the same way as saka is for this current crop. Still…the way this lad broke through at 16/17 to take over viera’s mantel was something else to see and truly special. For better or worse, he redefined our style and produced many… Read more »

Adebanjo

Cesc Fabregas. Now that’s a player. Am trying to recall the game where he didn’t start, was brought in scored two goals to keep things ticking and he was injured and substituted again. I thinks that is Fabregas except if I mistake him for someone else.

Ozzie

That game was v Aston villa, he was injured and shouldn’t even have been in the squad.

Der32

Scored 2 goals as a sub and was substituted off if memory serves right.

Rufusstan

Enjoy your retirement, bathing in the fact you won almost everything the game has to offer. Even in the CL, your commitment could never be questioned. (How many players would break a leg to score a penalty). Unlike some, I never held a grudge about how you left, knowing the strength of the pull of home. (Although Barcelona acted with all the grace of a bag of dicks throughout the saga). Equally I wasn’t particularly bothered about the Chelsea move; never go back is a watchword for me. As someone else mentioned, your career ended for me when you left;… Read more »

Mark

Always one of my favorite players with Arsenal even after leaving. hard to believe he is just 36, it seems so long ago that he played with Arsenal.

Alex

For me, an utter legend of the club. I can’t say I could have expected him to stay and the fact he won his PLs with Chelsea is more about us than him.

Looking back, you realise the huge gap in quality we have needed to get back into our team. Blogs post today (2nd July) with the video against Spurs are literally two goals in a row that I never see us score.

Heiku

Traitor.

Qwaliteee

Rubbish.

Arsenal were a million miles away from winning either the title or the Champions League – indeed any fucking trophy whatsoever – when Pep promised him the earth back ‘home.’ Barca were the biggest club in the world at the time – yes, it fucking hurt to see him go, but a traitor….?

Frank Stapleton and Robin van Persie might have been traitors, but Cesc? Never.

Ozzie

I don’t get how RVP, Wanky wanky Stapleton or Alexis were worse than Cesc. They all just left to win trophies. That hurts, but still not as much as Liam Brady to Juve.

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