Cesc Fabregas has revealed how the choice to move to north London and sign for Arsenal in 2003 was a tough one but worth it.
It’s hard to believe that Fabregas signed for Arsenal from Barca 14 years ago.
The Spaniard moved to London at the tender age of 16 in 2003 and would go on to become one of the best ever players to wear red and white.
The playmaker made 212 league appearances and scored 35 goals.
However, the 30-year-old admits that his initial decision to leave his home in Catalonia was a tough one.
“Yes it was [a big decision],” Fabregas explained to Gary Lineker for the BBC’s Premier League Show.
“I’d just turned 16, and you see Arsene Wenger there waiting for you, cutting his holiday [short] just to come to see you. For me it was a bit like: ‘What have I done?’
“They made an offer for me. Arsene was very clear he wanted me to train with the first-team, basically since day one.
“I’m not going to lie, it was tough, but a fantastic opportunity.
“At Barcelona it was so difficult. You had the likes of [Andres] Iniesta, who still didn’t even reach the first-team at the time and he was seen as the next big thing.
“I just had to make the decision. I did it and it happened. And here I am today.”
Fabregas, as we all know, returned to Barca in 2011. Three years after Arsene Wenger had made him captain in what was a pretty transparent attempt to get the midfielder to stay. He didn’t.
However, the Spaniard’s return ‘home’ didn’t quite go as planned. In fact, he was only there for three years before shuffling off to Chelsea after Arsenal reportedly turned down the chance to re-sign him in 2014.
Fabregas has since gone on to make 106 league appearances for the Blues and win the Premiership title twice. However, he’s not the player he was under Arsene Wenger. Maybe he knows that, maybe he doesn’t but the Frenchman’s coaching must have made that ‘tough’ decision to leave Barca that bit easier.