Kissing us all goodbye - the legendary Cesc Fabregas
I'm reading some of the most ridiculous nonsense on certain internet messageboards and forums discussing why Cesc Fabregas does not qualify as a legend of Arsenal Football Club. I've been an annoyed and upset by Fabregas' failure to put his Spanish mates back in their box the past couple of years, and his lack of leadership as Captain of Arsenal (that's about personality rather than ability), but his sheer quality makes him legendary in my eyes. When my children are older I will be talking to them about this guy and how great a footballer he was. There appears to be a school of thought that, because Arsenal only won a single major trophy in his time that he can't be a legend - so what about Liam Brady, if that's the criteria you're going to apply? It's a non-argument to me.
There is another argument doing the rounds that Fabregas is merely the shining light in a poor team. Again this is utter nonsense and is just a new found way of being bitter towards Cesc. Again, if that's the criteria you'd have to ask why is Joe Baker a legend of the Club? The answer of course is that he was a World Class player who was remarkably good when he played for Arsenal, despite the failings of those around him.
When I think of the greatest players I've seen at Arsenal, and try to put them in to a "fantasy" team Fabregas is there alongside Patrick Vieira in midfield. I feel that's a measure of how good he is.I will remember Cesc Fabregas as one of the finest footballers I have ever seen, anywhere. I am privileged to have watched him play for Arsenal. What has happened this past eighteen months has soured my admiration for him as he could, and should, have stamped out the nonsense from Barcelona and their players - we all knew he would leave eventually, but it should have been done in a professional and respectful way.
The most amazing thing to consider with Fabregas is that he is still only 24 years of age. Fitness permitting (and that remains a big "if" given his hamstring issues) his best years still lie ahead of him. It is annoying that Barcelona will be the beneficiaries of those peak years, but that's football - we got the best of Henry and Bergkamp and Vieira etc.
Time will heal the wounds of the recent past and we will all remember the great football he played for us. I thank Cesc Fabregas for the pleasure he gave to us at Arsenal. I remember the night he made his debut, and the night he scored his first goal, and the night he scored his first Premier League goal, and the night he scored his first Champions League goal - I was there at each of them. I feel privileged to have seen him develop. I was also there at the Champions League Final when the substitution of him, for Flamini, left a gaping hole in an already stretched midfield - had Fabregas not been taken off we might well have held on. It's such a shame he was injured for the Carling Cup Final last season - how different might it have been were he available?
Good luck Cesc, we won't forget you - a legend of Arsenal Football Club.
It's a sad day...