COMMENTARY | Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fàbregas has proclaimed his love for Arsenal in a new interview with The Guardian. The Spain international was a fan favorite during his time with the Gunners, and at the time of his transfer to Barcelona two years ago, he was Arsenal's club captain.
Although Fàbregas has proved his worth with Barcelona by scoring 31 goals and providing 38 assists in just over two seasons with the club, he has not always been a favorite of the Camp Nou fans. Some Barca fans have expressed their disappointments with Fàbregas and have even booed the playmaker after matches. These actions fueled rumors that the superstar would be leaving Barcelona during this summer's transfer window, with both Arsenal and Manchester United showing interest in the player; however, the 26-year-old decided to stay with the Spanish giants for at least another season.
In the interview with The Guardian, Fàbregas stated, "Arsenal is in my heart and always will be. It was important for me to leave the right way. I think the fans understood. I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to go back and play there one day, or maybe after football. The club's like a family so even if it wasn't as a coach, I'm sure they'd give me the chance to play a role. It's a club that is always going to be there and will always open its doors to me."
Fàbregas was also quick to praise Arsenal's current group of players, especially its two hyped British midfielders, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. "I watch the way Ramsey is playing now, how he looks so liberated, and I think maybe I blocked his way. Maybe I was an obstacle. Sometimes you need someone to leave for you to step forward and say: 'I'm here.'"
The Spaniard went on to say, "I could say the same for Jack (Wilshere). It's the concept I'm talking about, the idea of stepping up. That mental unblocking is so important. Both of them have a brilliant future. (They can be) as good as they want. They have quality on the ball and they have the physical attributes. Ramsey's stamina is spectacular. Wilshere is a bit different to the typical English player: he's more of a short passer."
While the Arsenal sides in which Fàbregas played for during his eight years with the club were always talented, he spoke about how there was a lack of experience at times. "The experience was missing (and) we suffered because of that." The midfielder now says that the Gunners have the necessary experience required to compete for a title. "Now I think they've found a good balance. They have people there who have a lot of experience like (Per) Mertesacker and Mikel (Arteta) and (Lukas) Podolski. I really do think (that Flamini could make the difference)."
For his final question of the interview, Fàbregas was asked if Arsenal can challenge defending champions Manchester United for the Premier League title, Fàbregas declared, "I really hope so."
Christopher Moore has been following Arsenal Football Club for over 10 years.
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