Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has always been a darling character at each of the clubs he has played for, but two of them face off against each other on Wednesday.
Having played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the match, Chelsea travel to Spain with the hope of overcoming one of the best teams in Europe in order to advance the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Fabregas started the Stamford Bridge leg and is likely to be involved again with Chelsea desperate for goals at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
The midfield maestro was signed as a prodigious teenager by Arsenal before returning to Barcelona, from whose youth academy he had initially been spawned. There, he spent a memorable three years with the likes of Leo Messi and Gerard Pique, forging strong friendships with both of them. The Chelsea man is especially close to Messi and their spouses enjoy the same kind of affection.
Fabregas: ‘Can’t say if I will celebrate’
While he has no qualms against taking to the notoriously wide Camp Nou pitch against his pals, what Fabregas is unsure of is how he will react if he’s lucky enough the score one past his former side.
“Honestly, I haven’t thought about it at all. I’ve only scored two goals this season and it’s been a while since my last goal,” he told Marca on Monday.
“There are feelings at such a moment that you can’t predict, I can’t definitively say I won’t celebrate, but it’s unlikely I would.”
The only thing that 30-year-old World Cup winner is sure of is that he will not be stepping his foot off the gas despite his special relationship with Wednesday’s opponents.
Asked about the prospect of facing his former team he said: “I did it with Arsenal and now with Chelsea, I’ve felt pretty good on both occasions. It doesn’t bother me to play against my previous club or old friends, it motivates me.”
Out to make Messi ‘uncomfortable’
The extent of his friendship with Messi includes vacationing together in the exotic Spanish island of Formentera as recently as last summer.
Nonetheless, Fabregas is hellbent on denying the five-time Ballon d’Or winner any space when they square off on Wednesday.
“If I am lucky enough to play, it’s true that we are positioned in nearby areas of the pitch, stopping him will be difficult but I will try to do everything possible so that he feels uncomfortable and can’t put together a perfect performance,” he added.
“I see him as a rival who wants to win, and I want the same thing. We are in different teams and each player wants what is best for their own club. Obviously, you always have respect for each other.”
Fabregas played 151 times for Barcelona between 2011 and 2014, scoring 42 times.
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