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Cesc Fabregas: Back to Barcelona

From Barcelona to London and back to Barcelona again. After eight years at Arsenal, where he developed into one of the finest midfielders in the world, the boy from Catalonia is fulfilling his dream in a Barcelona shirt once again.

Fabregas rejoined Barcelona in August 2011 for £35m, and after a total of 15 goals in his debut season back at Camp Nou, he helped Pep Guardiola's side lift the 2012 Copa del Rey.

It was in North London, however, that Fabregas made his name. While he was still just a teenager the football world stopped talking about Cesc Fabregas as one of the best young midfielders in the world and accepted he was simply one of the greatest midfield players on the planet. Taking over the Arsenal number four shirt vacated by Patrick Vieira, Fabregas' cocktail of astounding technique, tigerish tackling and precision passing quickly won over critics who had worried about his lack of bulk in the Gunners' engine room.

Arsenal swooped for Fabregas in September 2003, while he was still a youth player with Barcelona, Arsene Wenger reportedly impressed with a defensive midfielder who scored 30 goals in a season. A month later he scored against Rotherham in the League Cup to become Arsenal's youngest ever goal-scorer at 16 years 177 days. When Vieira was injured Fabregas stepped in to fill the breach, claiming the title of Arsenal's youngest league goal-scorer when he netted against Blackburn.

The records and accolades simply kept coming for Fabregas, his goal in Arsenal's 5-1 Champions League demolition of Rosenborg made him the second youngest scorer in the competition's history and he snared an FA Cup winners' medal when Arsenal defeated Manchester United. He was named in the UEFA Team of the Year for 2006 along with nominations for PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year. In 2007 he was voted Arsenal's Player of the Season and is now installed as the Gunners' captain.

His list of 'youngests' is completed by being the youngest player to represent Spain for 70 years, and in 2006, Spain's youngest ever World Cup player. Winner of Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 with Spain, Fabregas is one of the most creative midfield players in the game, combining flair, aggression and selfless running. Already brilliant, it seems inevitable he will develop into an all-time great.

 

Fabregas in action in the Euro 2012 final for eventual winners Spain against Italy.
Fabregas in action in the Euro 2012 final for eventual winners Spain against Italy.
Fabregas in action for Barcelona in the UEFA Supercup against Porto at Louis II stadium in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Date: 26/08/2011
Fabregas takes it past Villarreal goalkeeper Diego Lopez in his Barcelona La Liga debut at the Camp Nou. Date: 29/8/2011
Arsenal's Francesc Fabregas competes for the ball with Standard Liege's Axel Witsel at the Emirates stadium, London. Date: 24/11/09
Cesc Fabregas in action for Spain during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Group H match versus Honduras in Ellis Park, South Africa. Date: 21/06/10
Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas shoots past Derby County's Benny Feilhaber to score during their English Premier League match at the Emirates stadium, London. Date: 22/09/07
Spain's Cesc Fabregas and Iker Casillas celebrate with the trophy after the Euro 2008 final between Germany and Spain at the Ernst-Happel stadium, Vienna, Austria. Date: 29/06/08
Cesc Fabregas celebrates after scoring the second goal from the penalty spot against West Ham. Date: 20/03/10
Fabregas in action in the Euro 2012 final for eventual winners Spain against Italy.
 
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