“What a goal that is, one of the great solo goals in Premier League history…from Cesc Fabregas and that has set the Emirates alight..Absolutely magnificent…that is Arsenal all over, that is Fabregas all over, such an outstanding footballer, look at the run, it shows everything, ability, pace, strength, composure…how old is this kid? It is frightening at times…absolutely frightening…”

That was the ‘Cesc Fabregas’ that changed the outlook of every Gooner who watched and cherished Arsenal’s football in the last eight years or so. That player was capable of changing matches on his own with something absolutely extraordinary. That player had an exceptional vision, proficient in picking up ‘that killer pass’ time and time again. That player could be brought in as a substitute to charge up his team-mates and alter the plot of a game of football. That player led from the front as Arsenal’s captain, played games in excruciating pain with a smile on his face, gave his all for the famous Red and White. That player didn’t have a Barcelona DNA – no sir, he is yet to play a senior game for Barcelona, he had Arsenal blood; he worked for Arsenal, he played for Arsenal, and he lived for Arsenal.

After a summer of unending bid submit-reject-to-and-fro between Arsenal and Barcelona, one party put up their hands in defeat, giving in to the player’s love. Arsene loved Cesc; he would do anything for Cesc. Cesc wanted to leave, not for money, not because he didn’t love Arsenal, but because he wanted to return to his home, he gave in to the tremendous temptation of playing for the best football team on this planet – and most importantly win trophies with them, for them.

Arsene –

If you understand one thing, it is Cesc did not go for financial reasons, or that he did not love this Club. Cesc went because he was desperate to play for his hometown team, where he was educated. It is very difficult to resist to that.

A ‘Steal’ from La Masia

September, 1997-

“He had everything, vision, athleticism, stamina, speed, he could pass, he could shoot, and above all his decision-making was spectacular.”

When Rodolf Borelli, former Barca Under-11 coach, had come to watch some kids play at Mataro; up the coast from Barcelona, he had made the above remark as he went ahead to meet the coach of Mataro to ask about the kid.

The coach Senor Blai had revealed –

“He is Francesc Fabregas Soler. He is a beast. We were under orders to hide him, when you turned up the last time, we hid him in the dressing room.”

Six years later, La Masia couldn’t do the same. Arsene’s scout found the talented midfielder, picked him up, and the rest as they say is history. Cesc Fabregas signed professional terms with Arsenal, having never played senior football for Barcelona; his moment was to come with one of England’s topmost-clubs, in London.

The Legend to be!

 

Replacing Vieira – Big Boots to fill

In the 2004-05 season, a year after his arrival at the club, Cesc had started making appearances for the first team in the absence of Vieira. The ‘kid’ had a small built but he was incredibly adroit, capable of making nimble-footed runs and going past players with ‘silky’ touches of the football. He was part of the team in the UEFA Champions League; where he went on to score a goal against Rosenberg to become the second-youngest scorer in the competition’s history.

His big break was to come after Patrick had left for Juventus; somebody had to fill those massive boots of the monstrous Frenchman. Cesc Fabregas it was, it had to be him. He was destined to take up the new Gunner Number Four / Anchorman mantle. The 2005-06 season saw him partnering Gilberto Silva in the midfield, the latter taking up the defensive-shield role while Cesc was given the ‘open role’ to roam around the green, feeding his strikers with his awe-inspiring passes.

The Fulcrum of the Team

Cesc, at Arsenal, was inspirational in whatever he did – he turned coal into gold, he dictated terms in games with his penchant for accurate through-balls, measured chips, smart one-twos and those deft touches of the ball that made the next move so easy. Playing in every single league game of the 2006-07’ campaign, Cesc was a key component of the Arsenal system. Though the team failed to make a major mark in that year, Cesc grew in confidence. He developed an all-round game, he was to be Arsenal’s ‘main man’ for years to come – having signed an unusually long contract with the club.

Cesc - The Driving Force

 

The 2007-08 season was Cesc’ biggest one in Arsenal colors! He was part of everything – assisting, goal-scoring, starting off brilliant moves, ending them off with aplomb, he was all over the field. He finished that season with 13 goals and 24 assists, not to mention, the incredible long-distant screamer against Milan, which meant, Arsenal were in the quarter-finals, and were also the first English team to beat Milan at the San Siro. Along with some more fellow Gunners, Cesc was part of the PFA Team of the Year. The world took notice – Cesc had arrived!

Winning the arm-band from William Gallas

As William Gallas managed to spoil his relationship with a few fellow Gunners and the fans, it was quite foreseeable who was to be Arsenal’s next captain. Cesc took up the special yellow arm-band on November, the 24th, 2008. The fans were ecstatic with the manager’s new choice of captain. They were relieved to see William Gallas not captaining the side anymore and were not-least-bit bothered about having such a young captain. Cesc was just the ideal choice, Cesc was the only choice!

At, just 21 years of age, Cesc was captaining the Arsenal Football Club, already an idol at the club –

“It is a great honour for me to captain one of the biggest clubs in the world. It is a proud moment. I know it’s a big responsibility but together with my team-mates, I know we have the spirit and commitment to get back to winning ways and fulfil our potential.”

“I will do everything I can to make us successful again. By becoming captain it shows how much I’m committed to the club. I actually feel I’ve shown commitment since I arrived here.

“Each year people talk about me leaving yet I’m still here and I want to be part of the future of Arsenal. I love the club and I’m totally committed to it. I’m not looking to play anywhere else.”

Sigh!

That season was marred by an injury to Cesc which ruled him out for the better part of the season. His absence was clearly felt as Arsenal finished the season without any silverware. Cesc was such a vital cog in the team that the club was slowly showing over-dependence on the Spanish midfielder. With a lot of football for club and country, Cesc was tiring himself out. Arsenal and his country needed him to play less to take some pressure of him. One factor that did manage to take off a lot of unnecessary pressure from Cesc was his beloved fans.

A Leader would be missed!

Relationship with the Fans

Cesc always shared a special chemistry with the Arsenal fans. Hero-Worship had been taken to an all-new level with Cesc Fabregas.  Cesc acknowledged the same in many interviews, it helped him to ‘keep his head’ at the club as he secretly developed craving for playing at Barcelona again. The Gooners admired him for his commitment to the club, for the glorious moments he gave that would be etched forever in their memories, for his unequivocal love for the club despite exasperating calls from his motherland.  Cesc, at Arsenal, was not an enigma; he was straight-forward extraordinary! As they would say – He was absolutamente fantástico.

Arsenal have never lost a game in which Cesc Fabregas was on the scoresheet. Leaves with that record intact. Salute! – (via @Eboue_Eboue)

@cesc4official thanks for the 8 years man. I had the pleasure of seeing you live at 17 and countless other times. A joy to watch. Thank you. – (via @LooseCannon01)

Cant take out the arsenal outta cesc no one can! – (via @AFC4lyfe )

People aren’t able to control their emotions..they love you cesc – (via @pablo_AFC )

“The greatest challenge of man is to love what he has lost and respect the reasons for it.” – (via @WonderGunner)

 

The Inevitable Move

The Transfer Window of season 2010-11 was different from the present one, it had an Arsenal door with a poster which read ‘Cesc Fabregas is not for sale’. Arsene had made his stance clear about the club captain and Barcelona, though they hardly get what Arsenal says, understood that it was next to impossible to sign Cesc, yet! Another season passed by and Barcelona were back – the debate continued regarding the most relentless of transfer sagas that football fans ever witnessed. Even though some Cules believed that Cesc was a surplus to their already-massive midfield, the transfer had reached its stage of inevitability – The ‘how’ and ‘why‘ it’s going to happen had changed to ‘when’ it is going to happen.

On the 15th of August, the unavoidable happened – Cesc signed for his new club Barcelona FC. It was an extremely joyous day at Camp Nou with fans all over Barcelona assembling to watch the signing-ceremony of their son’s return home. The cruel irony of it lied in the fact that on the other side of the English Channel, it was a different picture – a solemn one! The one reason that gave the Gooners a surplus of moments of happiness, sadness, and instances to rejoice – was gone. Cesc Fabregas, that made every Gooner laugh, cry, celebrate, fight with each other, believe in football, trust in Arsene, and what made them proud – was gone. There won’t be chants of “Oh it is Arsenal FC, we will whoop them around the pitch and captain Fabregas will score 3” Or “Who’s that lad from Barcelona, who’s that lad we all adore,he wears his favourite number 4, and when he gets the ball he scores, and he’ll be a legend at Ars-enal forever more.”

The Gooners won’t be able to hold on to placards proudly, which said “Hands Off Cesc Fabregas”. The simple, yet the harsh truth is – Cesc Fabregas, the most loved of Arsenal players of this generation, won’t be donning the Red and White ever again. The love-story is over. Cesc is gone!

“We’ve got Cesc Fabregas, we’ve got Cesc Fabregas” is now –

OleGunner Ole Gunner – [via Twitter]

They’ve got Cesc Fabregas, they’ve got Cesc Fabregas.

In the end, what matters most, is Cesc Fabregas always gave his 100% while playing for Arsenal Football Club; he will always be remembered, he will always be respected, he will always be loved. The Arsenal fans should be in the same wavelength as Cesc Fabregas!

...always a Gunner! (Photo courtesy @DaygeeDr)

 

Thank you for your services to the club, Cesc. All the best for your future!

Le Saludamos!