Barcelona and Spain attacking midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
Cesc Fabregas had looked world class almost ever since he first pulled on an Arsenal shirt at the age of just 17. The midfielder stepped seamlessly into Arsenal’s title-winning ‘Invincibles’ side and quickly made himself a regular despite the vast competition from the likes of Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva and Edu.
It was obvious at that stage that Fabregas would become one of the world’s best players, and sure enough he has definitely proven that in recent times ever since prompting his former club Barcelona to pay £25million to bring him back to the Nou Camp in 2011.
Although he has not quite been at his influential best since re-joining his boyhood club, he is still a useful player for the club even when played in some slightly unfamiliar roles further forward. In fairness to Fabregas, he has adapted well for club and country, often playing upfront in a ‘false 9’ role, and doing well to add a more ruthless streak in front of goal to his game, having started his career as a deeper-lying playmaker.
Playing this role for Arsenal, Fabregas was arguably the best creative midfielder in the Premier League for many years, regularly reaching double figures in assists for the club, and creating more chances for his team-mates than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues between 2006 and 2011. He will likely inherit this position at Barcelona in the future when current midfield star Xavi retires or plays less regularly.
Fabregas won the first league title of his career just this season, scoring 14 goals and providing 12 assists for Barcelona as they were crowned champions in Spain. His years at Arsenal meant he has not had much luck with silverware at club level, but he has been part of Spain’s dominance on the international scene, playing his part in their incredible consecutive victories at two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup, where he set up Andres Iniesta’s winning goal in the final. In total, he has amassed 81 caps for Spain, and 13 goals – an impressive achievement considering the vast competition in this talented generation of Spanish midfielders.
His creativity and ability to score from midfield have seen him compared with legendary French attacker Michel Platini, and at the age of just 26, there is still time for Fabregas to further cement his place as a modern great. He could arguably be yet to reach his peak, and that is a frightening prospect considering all he has achieved in his career so far.