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Cesc Fabregas

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Cesc Fabregas returned to Barcelona in August 2011

Cesc Fabregas returned to Barcelona in August 2011

David Ramos / Getty Images

After joining Arsenal as a 16-year-old from Barcelona, Cesc Fabregas blossomed into one of the most complete players in world soccer.

A World Cup and European Championship winner with Spain, Fabregas was regarded as Arsenal’s best player, but a lack of trophies at club level and a desire to return home saw him rejoin Barcelona eight years after leaving, for a fee in the region of $57million in August 2011.

Quick Facts:

  • Name: Cesc Fabregas
  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Date and Place of Birth: May 4, 1987 in Barcelona, Spain
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Current Club: Barcelona (La Liga)
  • Previous Club: Barcelona (2000-2003), Arsenal (2003-2011
  • International Career: 2006 to present

Early Life:

Born in Vilassar de Mar, Barcelona, Fabregas had the Catalan club in his blood from an early age. His grandfather first took him to watch the team when he was nine months old. At 10, and after a few years of representing his school, Fabregas was turning out for a neighboring town and was fortunate enough to be playing in the same league as the Barcelona youth side. They offered him a trial, he impressed and it was not long before he was playing alongside fellow academy cadet Lionel Messi.

The Arsenal Move:

Fabregas, who has represented Spain at Under-16, 17, 20, 21 and senior level, was plucked from Barcelona's prestigious academy by Arsene Wenger. Unlike the Catalans, Arsenal could offer him a fast track into the first team squad. In 2003 the Frenchman made him the youngest player ever to appear for Arsenal's first team at 16 years 177 days, against Rotherham in the League Cup. He became the youngest to score when at 16 years and 212 days he found the net against Wolves in the same competition. Fabregas would then represent Spain at the Under-17 World Championship in Finland where he won the Golden Ball for best player and Golden Boot for top scorer.

Rise to Stardom:

The following season Fabregas featured more in the Premier League and by the 2005-06 campaign he was a regular with 49 appearances under his belt. His fine performances were instrumental in Arsenal's progress to their first ever Champions League final, but the team were beaten 2-1 by Fabregas' former club Barcelona.

Fabregas' greater maturity has resulted in an increased goal return and he is now a midfielder capable of contributing 10 to 15 goals a season.

With just one trophy to show for his efforts at Arsenal - the 2005 FA Cup - the player first spoke of his desire to return to Barcelona in summer 2010, and just over a year later he was granted his wish after a long running transfer saga.

Spain Career:

A debut for the national team came in a 3-2 defeat of Ivory Coast in March 2006 and Fabregas attracted praise after setting up a goal. He went on to feature at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and international recognition continued as he represented the victorious Spain team in the 2008 European Championships.

His finest moment for La Furia Roja was undoubtedly setting up the winning goal for Andres Iniesta in the World Cup final against Holland in 2010.

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