Before Cesc Fabregas finally forced his move from Arsenal to Barcelona in the summer of 2011, he was in Ibiza and, according to Xavi, he was suffering. In the year since his Barca DNA was mercifully returned home, the 25-year-old Fabregas was a standout performer early on and won the Club World Cup and Copa del Rey, plus another European Championship with Spain. But Barcelona's midfield is crowded and though he's started all three of the club's La Liga matches this season, he's only played about an hour of each. This is the new source of Cesc Fabregas' suffering.
He told Radio Marca: "There's no such thing as a great substitute in the world of football. I couldn't tell you what makes a great substitute. I always wish my team-mates well and put a happy face on. If I have to take my unhappy face home then so be it, but I would never let my team-mates or manager see it."
He's taking his unhappy face home! He would clearly win in a sadness competition against Cristiano Ronaldo.
"Everybody likes to play every minute of the season," he added. "I've always said that I play for the best team in the world, but I came here to compete, to learn and enjoy, not to sit wracking my brains. The manager knows what I can offer. But across the three positions that I can play, I am competing with the three best players in the world."
Somewhere in London, Arsene Wenger is laughing so hard that he can't breathe after reading that last line.
"I'm delighted to be a part of this team but when a coach tells me I have to go, I'll go," he said. "But I will not make it easy for him to do so, by any means. I will keep going, looking forward to the time that things change. I came here to see out my career."
So Cesc isn't angling for another transfer, he just seems to finally be processing the sobering reality of his situation a year after everyone else did.
Meanwhile, Xavi -- the person most concerned with Cesc's suffering -- says, "If you take my playing time I will cut you."