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Cesc Fabregas playing for Chelsea will be a betrayal Arsenal fans will find hard to take

Barcelona are
happy for the
Spanish midfielder to leave
the Nou Camp
Fabregas has been linked
with a move to Chelsea to
replace Frank Lampard
Played for Arsenal for eight
years before leaving in 2007
‘He asked me if I had played for
Barcelona and when I said yes, he
shook his head as if in disbelief
and said, “Well, that wasn’t
Barcelona football”.’
That’s Mark Hughes reflecting on a
unsavoury spat with Cesc Fabregas
in 2007 after the Welshman’s
Blackburn side had parked the
proverbial bus and ruffled a few
feathers in the Arsenal ranks on
the way to a 0-0 draw at Emirates
And then there’s this from
February 2014 when Barcelona
travelled to Manchester City in the
Champions League, a match won
comfortably by the Catalans with
Fabregas operating as a false No 9.
‘Some people were talking a bit
too much before the game and now
they have to shut up for a few
days,’ Fabregas told ITV. The dig
aimed squarely at Jose Mourinho
who had earlier referred claimed
the team travelling to Manchester
were the worst Barcelona for many
The very idea then that the
summer’s biggest transfer could
well involve Spanish football’s
prodigal son and The Beautiful
Game’s bête noire seems deeply
uncomfortable, not least to Arsenal
To the rest of the world, having
Barcelona on your CV would be
considered a high point. To
Mourinho, it seems the spell as
‘the translator’ he spent under the
tutelage of the late, great Sir
Bobby Robson is a blot against his
copybook of footballing ideals.
These two aren’t just unrealistic
bed-fellows, the argument could be
made that they don’t play the
same sport.
It’s been argued that Fabregas’
shortcomings in Spain are due to
the fact his much-fabled ‘DNA’ had
changed. He was certainly a more
developed player physically than
his colleagues, relying a blustering
will to burst into spaces and
exploit whatever tiny gaps could be
found by the movement of those
around him.
However, touting him as a
replacement for Frank Lampard
seems wide of the mark. The
Englishman was a master of timing
without the ball – arriving late,
finding a yard - Cesc was very
much in his element with it as his
One remembers the lung-busting
run from the halfway line against
Tottenham in the ‘11-second derby’
or the neat exchange with Thierry
Henry in order to pick the lock of
the Juventus defence in 2006.
Whenever he did send one
crashing in from range, it was the
result of his own hard work.
Fabregas thrives on freedom.
His genius simply wouldn’t flourish
in the restrained world of Jose
Mourinho.Of all the exits from the
Emirates Stadium in the last half-
decade, only really that of captain
Cesc has passed without the
vitriolic out-pouring familiar with
the departure of star names.
The young tyro had given eight
years – three as captain, leader,
legend - of his life and career as
the heartbeat of a project whose
foundations were now at their
His departure to Barcelona for a
knockdown $35million stuck in the
throat only because of the behavior
of his captors – ‘Barcelona DNA’
anyone - not through any angst
towards the man himself. The
Spaniard had conducted himself
admirably throughout his time in
north London – the odd throw of a
pizza aside – and was now
yearning for a return to a team
being feted as perhaps the
greatest we had ever seen. The
fans had sent him on his way with
their blessing, they had dusted
themselves down and admitted
defeat to a higher power.
Like the girlfriend with whom you
always knew you were punching
above your weight, sometimes you
just have to hold your hands up.
Yet should Fabregas return to the
Premier League, and to Chelsea,
one can’t help but imagine what it
would be like to see your first love
arm-in-arm with a someone so at
odds with what you thought made
them great; an older, uglier, more
unpopular partner, in whom a
bulge can only be found in his
wallet and his gut, the one he’s
stuffed with goodies thanks to the
irritatingly successful pursuit of
paid-for-popularity. It’s not exactly
very ‘Barcelona’; just ask Hughes.

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Posted By bobricky On 06:55 Tue, 03 Jun 2014

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