A tribute to Francesc Fabregas Soler: Vision and Class
It saddens me to know that after nine months of consistent blogging, my 200th post will be dedicated to my second best footballer of all time shortly after he decided to leave the club after my own heart.
…“There are not many players in the World that can offer what Fabregas has offered Arsenal Football Club. Blood, sweat, sand, assists, goals, class, determination, teamwork, technique and a 110% effort in every game.”…
…. “I must admit that I’m not looking forward to writing a post about Fabregas’ departure because it could leave a tear or two in my eyes. It’s also pleasing to know that Barcelona is a broke-ass club at the moment and I hope that they won’t reach Arsenal’s evaluation for Fabregas”…
Culled from The Fabregate continues and a signing that would really Mata – June 28, 2011.
The picture has been painted vividly and all gooners have been given a nasty bite by reality. The unstoppable force at Arsenal called Francesc Fabregas is no more.
On the 4th of May, 1987 in the city of Vilassar de Mar, Barcelona, Francesc Fabregas Sr. and Nuria Soler brought a star into this planet from Krypton. At the age of just 24, he’ll be looking forward to a new footballing chapter in his life but the memories he left as well as the legendary status he had attained in his former club will sink in the hearts of gooners forever. His career is still very young and he has his best years ahead of him but he owes his footballing life to a man that was more than a father to him, Arsene Wenger.
Fabregas was handed his Spanish national team debut on the 1st of March, 2006 in a friendly against Ivory Coast and has 58 caps for Spain, scoring six goals in his 4-year stint in national colors. Before making his debut for the senior team, he represented Spain in all junior levels. He made 14 appearances for the Under-17’s and scored seven goals. He also had five caps for the Under-20’s before moving to the Under-21’s were he made 11 appearances with two goals to his name. He stepped into the limelight on the international scene in the 2003 Under-17 World Cup that took place in Scandinavia. He was the top scorer of that tourney and he also won the MVP award in the same tournament even if Spain finished as the runners-up to the eventual winners, Brazil.
At the age of 19, Fabregas was called up by Luis Aragones to play for Spain in a friendly match against Ivory Coast on the 1st of March, 2006. Fabregas also entered the record books for playing the match because he came the youngest ever player to wear the Spanish jersey in over 70 years. A record that was previously held by Rafael Nadal……..Sergio Ramos. Three months later, Fabregas was listed in the 23-man squad list that was to represent Spain in the FIFA World Cup scheduled to be hosted in Germany. In the World Cup, Fabregas spent more time on the bench but he did well when summoned into the pitch and this turned the tables around for him. He provided an assist when Spain beat Tunisia and he also started in the final group game against Saudi Arabia. When Spain played with the eventual World Cup finalists, France, Fabregas started the game but the Pope of Modern Day football Zinedine Zidane stole the show. Fabregas also held the record as the youngest ever player to represent Spain in a World Cup.
Two years later, Fabregas was called up once again by Luis Aragones to represent Spain in the 2008 European Championships that took place in Switzerland and Austria. He broke his international duck when Spain played Russia in the group stages with a headed goal and he was Spain’s hero in the quarterfinals by scoring the match winning penalty when they played Italy in a game that ended in a goalless stalemate. He was very influential in the semifinals against Russia by providing two assists for his teammate and that earned him a starting place in the final match against Germany that ended in victory thanks to a clinical finish by Fernando Torres.
Fabregas’ contribution in the tournament didn’t go unnoticed and he was named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.
As expected, Spain represented Europe in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup that took place in South Africa and Fabregas was called up again. He scored his second international goal go when Spain mauled New Zealand by 5-0. Fabregas and Spain were overconfident when they played USA in the semifinals and they found themselves on the end of a 2-0 defeat. USA almost achieved the same feat with Brazil in the finals but after leading by 2 goals at halftime, Kaka and Luis Fabiano turned on the style to give the Americans their own version of Samba to win the tournament.
Fabregas produced his best ever performance as a player in the 2009/10 campaign with 19 goals and 19 assists but he was deemed not good enough in Vicente del Bosque’s 2010 World Cup squad that started almost every game with Sergi Busquets, Xabi Alonso and Xavi across the midfield. Even a midfield demigod like Andres Iniesta had to settle for a place on the wings. He came in as a sub in most of the games but his most important contribution in the tournament was the assist he gave Iniesta in the final match against the Netherlands.
As a Spanish player, Fabregas has won football’s biggest price (2010) as well as the European Championships in 2008 but he has settled for silver in the Under-17 World Cup (2003) and the Under-17 European Championships (2004). He has also been honored for his services for Spain with the award of the Under-17 World Cup Golden Shoe (2003), Under-17 World Cup Golden Ball (2003), Under-17 European Championship Golden Ball (2004) and UEFA Team of the Tournament (2008).
Fabregas began his football career in Barcelona’s Mutant Academy in 2003 but he was snapped for pennies by Wenger in the same and was handed the No. 57 jersey. Arsenal had a formidable midfield that had talisman Patrick Vieira as well as 2002 World Cup winner Gilberto Silva with Edu and Ray Parlour providing depth so the chances of Fabregas breaking into the team were slim to none. However, he was given his Arsenal debut on the 23rd of October, 2003 when Arsenal played Rotherham United in the Carling Cup. Fabregas became Arsenal’s youngest ever player at the milk age of 16 years and 177 days after playing that match but Jack Wilshere broke the record when Arsenal played Blackburn in September 2009. Fabregas also became Arsenal’s youngest ever goal scorer when he scored against Wolves. Arsenal ended the 2003/04 as worthy champions but Fabregas wasn’t given a winners medal because he didn’t play any match.
As the years went by, Fabregas reaffirmed himself in the club and Vieira’s exit in the 2005/06 campaign paved the way for Arsenal’s new No.4 to strut his stuff on a weekly basis. Fabregas made 35 league appearances that season and was part of the Arsenal squad that went into the Champions League final without conceding a goal for 10 matches. In the 2006/07 season, Arsenal moved to their new home and Fabregas was ever-present in the squad playing all 38 league matches. He scored two league goals and provided 13 assists. In the 2007/08 campaign, Arsenal came close to silverware but Eduardo’s injury coupled with Mercenary Gallas’ childishness played a big role in Arsenal’s demise that season.
In the 2008/09 season, Gallas crossed the line again so his captaincy was stripped from him and on the 28th of November, 2008 the mantle was passed on to a certain 21-year old called Francesc Fabregas. He was compared with Arsenal’s great leader Tony Adams who assumed the role of club captain at the same age. Fabregas excelled in that campaign but an unfortunate injury caused by his national teammate Xabi Alonso in a match against Liverpool sidelined him for four months. He came back stronger in the 2009/10 season scoring 19 goals and supplying 19 assists before representing Spain in the World Cup.
Last season, injuries and poor form were the order of the day for Arsenal’s captain but there were games were his light shone through. Fabregas was the subject of a move to Barcelona in a saga that lasted for 3 seasons.
His amazing works for Arsenal Football Club has not gone with the wind he has been awarded with some accolades in recognition of his achievements. He won the 2004 Community Shield as well the 2005 FA Cup but he was a silver medalist in the 2006 UEFA Champions League and the Carling Cup on two occasions (2007 and 2011). In Arsenal colors, he was awarded in the UEFA Champions League Team of the Year on two occasions (2006, 2008), PFA Young player of the Year (2008) and the PFA Team of the Year (2008 and 2010).
As a player, Fabregas is a very adept dead ball specialist and he was responsible for taking Arsenal’s corners on the right hand side as well as penalties. He wasn’t a renowned free kick taker but his free kick against Aston Villa in 2009 was a thing of beauty. He wasn’t a clinical goal scorer in his early years at the club but he surprised a lot of people in the 2009/10 campaign by scoring 19 goals. He is also a highly technical player that has many individual high attributes which include good first touch, composure, high determination and selflessness in his play.
Fabregas has an attribute that stands out from others, his passing range. The eagle-eyed player has broken record after record for the history bookmakers and they do the talking for him on the pitch. In his first full season at Arsenal (2004/05), he had 46 overall appearances and scored 5 goals making 4 assists. As he matured as a player, they increased and in the 2007/08 campaign he played 45 games, scored 13 goals and made 22 assists. This earned him a place in the PFA and UEFA Team of the Year and he crowned it all with the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
In his eight years at Arsenal Football Club, Francesc Fabregas made 303 appearances, scored 57 goals and had a century of assists (100) with 80 of them supplied in the Premier League.
In Fabregas does not represent vision and class, then tell me what those words mean.
Francesc Fabregas Soler, thanks for the memories.
At least, I still have you on Football Manager 2011, Barcelona can’t snatch you up from there.