Francesc"Cesc" Fābregas Soler (born 4 May 1987 in
Arenys de Mar, Barcelona)
is a Spanish footballer who plays as a central midfielder for
Arsenal in the English Premier League and for the Spanish
national team. Fābregas started his career as a trainee with FC
Barcelona but was signed by Arsenal in September 2003. He did
not feature much in his first season for The Gunners, but
following injuries to key midfielders in the 200405 season, his
playing time increased. Before long, he had established himself
as Arsenal's starting central midfielder and playmaker. He went
on to break several of the club's records, earning a reputation
as a technically-gifted player. In international football, the
Spaniard's national career began when he represented the
Under-17 side at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship in
Finland. As a result of his club performances, he was called up
to the senior squad in 2006. He has played in the 2006 World Cup
and Euro 2008, where he was one of the key players that helped
Spain lift the trophy.
Fābregas was born in 1987 to Francesc Fābregas Sr., who runs
a property company, and Núria Soler, the owner of a pastry
company. Fābregas has supported FC Barcelona since childhood and
went to his first match when he was nine months old with his
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was at FC Barcelona where Fābregas began his club football
career. Initially, he was played as a volante (defensive
midfielder), yet he was also a prolific scorer, sometimes
scoring more than 30 goals in a season for the club's youth
teams. However, he did not manage to play a first-team game at
the Camp Nou.
Sensing that he would have limited opportunities at Barcelona,
he joined Arsenal, signing for the London club on 11 September
Initially, he found life difficult in England's capital but soon
struck a friendship with Spanish-speaking team-mate Philippe
Senderos, who helped him settle down.
As a 16-year-old, Fābregas did not contemplate breaking into the
first team immediately but looked up to senior players like
Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, while concentrating on
training and learning the English language.
He nevertheless made his début for Arsenal not long after, on 23
October 2003, in a League Cup tie at home to Rotherham United.
In doing so he became Arsenal's youngest ever first-team player,
aged 16 years and 177 days.
He then became the youngest goals scorer in Arsenal's history in
a later round of the League Cup, scoring in a 51 victory
against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Although Arsenal went on to win the league unbeaten in the
Fābregas was not awarded a winner's medal because he did not
play a single league game.
It was not until the start of the 200405 season that the
Spaniard started making first-team appearances in matches
outside the League Cup. His first match of the season was
against Manchester United in the Community Shield. Following an
injury to Vieira, Fābregas stepped in and made four consecutive
Premier League starts. He was praised for his performances in
those games, even claiming a goal against Blackburn Rovers in a
30 victory, and becoming Arsenal's youngest ever goalscorer in
a league game.
With further injuries to Edu and Gilberto Silva, he received
more playing time in all competitions.
In the UEFA Champions League, he became the second-youngest
goalscorer in the competition's history after scoring the third
goal against Rosenborg BK in a 51 win.
He concluded his season by winning his first honours with
Arsenal when he was in the starting eleven that defeated
Manchester United on penalties in the 2005 FA Cup Final.
Making the starting eleven
After the departure of Vieira to Juventus, Fābregas featured
regularly in the Arsenal central midfield alongside Gilberto
Silva. He made 49 appearances in all competitions during the
Despite his young age, his performances came under greater
scrutiny due to his increased involvement in the first team.
Further, as Fābregas possessed a smaller frame and played with
less aggression than Vieira, there were initially doubts over
his ability to fill in the void left by the Frenchman.
Nevertheless, Fābregas asserted his own style of play and
impressed pundits in the Champions League against Real Madrid
In the latter, he scored Arsenal's first goal and set up Thierry
Henry for the second,
at the same time proving that he could compete against tough,
hard-tackling midfielders like Vieira.
He then played in the final against his former club Barcelona,
but Arsenal were defeated 21,
completing a trophyless 200506 campaign for Arsenal.
||Francesc Fābregas Soler
|Date of birth
||4 May 1987
|Place of birth
||Arenys de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
||1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 15:50, 1 November 2008 (UTC).
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of 15:50, 1 November 2008 (UTC).
* Appearances (Goals)
Fābregas' increase in exposure drew transfer speculation
during the summer; Real Madrid expressed a desire to sign the
Spaniard despite his long-term contract with Arsenal,
but Arsenal manager Arsčne Wenger stated that Arsenal would not
listen to any offers.
In September 2006, with six years left on his deal, Arsenal
offered a new five-year deal (with an option to extend by a
further three years, making eight years) to the midfielder,
which he signed on 19 October 2006.
While the contract was unusually long, Fābregas cited Arsenal's
playing style and Wenger as reasons for his long-term commitment
to the club.
"My favourite hobby is to play FIFA 08 on my
XBOX in just my boxer shorts and socks" -
The 200607 season was a learning experience for the young
Arsenal squad and Fābregas. The club again failed to secure any
major honours and were defeated by city rivals Chelsea in the
League Cup final.
However, Fābregas emerged as one of the key creative players for
the team, playing in every single league game.
He kickstarted Arsenal's UEFA Champions League 2006-07 campaign
when he scored a brace in a 30 win over Dinamo Zagreb in a
In the Premier League, he notched up 13 assists, which was the
second-highest total in the league.
He ended the season with several individual honours, including
the Golden Boy award, presented by the Italian paper TuttoSport, based on a poll of leading writers across
Europe. He was
also named in the 2006 UEFA Team of the Year,
and named FA Premier League Player of the Month for January
Additionally, he was nominated for both PFA Players' Player of
the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year, although both awards
went to Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo.
In June 2007, he was named Arsenal's Player of the Season,
taking in 60% of the votes.
The 200708 season began with much uncertainty for Arsenal.
First, David Dein, the club's vice-chairman, left amidst
allegations of internal strife, followed by the departure of the
club's all-time top goals scorer and captain, Thierry Henry, who
signed for Barcelona. There was also speculation over Wenger's
future with the club.
Fābregas knew that he would become the most important player for
Arsenal, but stated he was ready for the challenge.
He started the season well, chalking up goals and assists,
and website soccernet attributed the early success of Arsenal to
the young Spaniard.
His start to the season also earned him the O2 Player
of the Month award from Arsenal fans for August, September and
well as the Premier League Player of the Month for September.
With Arsenal leading the league table until March, Fābregas was
equally instrumental in the club's Champions League campaign; in
the return leg against AC Milan, the midfielder scored late in
the game to send Arsenal into the quarter-finals.
On 11 April 2008, Fābregas was nominated for the PFA Player of
the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards for the second
he was later crowned the winner of the latter, and named in the
PFA Team of the Year.
Arsenal's failure to keep in the Premiership race
howevercoupled with late round exits in the cup
competitionsmeant that it was to be another trophy less season.
Spanish national team
Although he features regularly for the Spain national
football team, Fābregas' international career began at youth
level. At the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship held in Finland,
he finished as top scorer of the tournament despite playing in
midfield, and was voted Player of the Tournament.
Spain finished runners-up in the tournament to Brazil.
Fābregas was next involved in the 2004 UEFA U-17 European
Championship, where Spain also finished runners-up.
Fābregas was named the Golden Player of the tournament.
After emerging as one of Arsenal's key players in only his
second season at the club, it did not take long for Fābregas to
be called up to the senior squad. Noting his impressive
performances in Arsenal's 2006 Champions League campaign, Spain
coach Luis Aragones named the teenager in the team for a
friendly against the Ivory Coast.
In that game, Fābregas became the youngest player capped for
Spain in 70 years.
He received favourable reviews for his début, and was involved
in the build-up to Spain's first goal in the 32 victory over
On 15 May 2006, Fābregas was selected for the Spanish 2006
World Cup squad. During the tournament, he came on as a
second-half substitute in Spain's first two group matches,
contributing an assist to striker Fernando Torres in their 31
victory against Tunisia.
He then started alongside Spain's reserve players (including
then-Arsenal teammate José Antonio Reyes) in Spain's third group
match against Saudi Arabia.
He earned a starting role in Spain's first knockout-stage match
against France, in place of Marcos Senna, but Spain lost 31.
Fābregas also became the youngest player in Spanish football
history to participate in a World Cup when he came on as a
substitute for Luis García after 77 minutes in the 40 victory
against Ukraine on 13 June 2006; he was then 19 years and 41
days old. He
was later nominated for the Gillette Young Player of the World
Cup, but Germany's Lukas Podolski won the award.
In UEFA Euro 2008, Fābregas was issued with squad number 10,
rather than 18 which he had previously held.
Despite featuring mostly as a substitute, the midfielder made a
considerable impact in Spain's campaign. He scored his first
international goal in that competition in Spain's 41 win over
Russia and also had an assist in that game.
Spain won all three of their group games and met Italy in the
quarter-finals. In that match, Fābregas scored the winning
penalty in the penalty shoot-out after the teams remained
deadlocked 00 after extra time.
In the semi-finals, Spain defeated Russia 30 with Fābregas
providing two assists.
The midfielder made the starting eleven in the final against
Germany which Spain prevailed 10; this was Spain's first major
title since 1964.
For his efforts, Fābregas was named in the Team of the
Tournament, a 23-man squad selected by the UEFA Technical Team.
Style of play
Originally brought to Arsenal as a youth to slowly develop
via the League Cup, Fābregas was unexpectedly deployed as
Arsenal's starting central midfielder following injuries to
fellow midfielders Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva and Edu during
the 200405 season. Fābregas functions mostly as a playmaker and
his main asset is his passing range. As one of the most coveted
young talents in the game today, he has been described as being
a vital part of Arsenal's first team, bringing vision,
creativity and selflessness to Arsenal's intricate passing game,
and displaying maturity that belies his age.
In set pieces, he is one of the first-choice corner kick and
free kick takers in the team.
Fābregas has stated in interviews that while Vieira served as
his role model and mentor,
he styles his game after his childhood hero and compatriot Josep
In that sense he is of a different mould from his Arsenal
predecessors who play in the same position, preferring skill
Initially, this led to criticisms of his lightweight frame and
less aggressive style of play,
with even former teammate Ashley Cole criticising the Spaniard
as "an unproven featherweight" in his autobiography.
However, Fābregas' statistics have improved over the seasons,
and he has adopted a more aggressive style of play. His
importance to the team as the main creative force is also
reflected in his contributing 16 assists in all competitions in
the 200607 season.
By his own admission, scoring was a weaker part of his game in
his first few seasons at Arsenal; wasteful finishing also being
symptomatic of the larger problem surrounding Arsenal in the
200506 and 200607 seasons.
This changed initially in the 200708 season when he scored 11
goals in his first 16 games, and Arsenal manager Wenger claimed
that the Spaniard's previous inability to score was down to a
mental state, and even compared the Spaniard to Michel Platini,
a French midfielder renowned for scoring.
Given his young age, concerns have also been raised over the
large number of games Fābregas has played for club and country
in the last few seasons, as burnout may become an issue if he is
not adequately rested,
although the midfielder has yet to sustain any major injuries in
his six-year career with Arsenal.
- FA Cup: 200405
- FA Community Shield:
- UEFA Champions League:
- League Cup: 200607
- FA Community Shield:
- European Championship:
- 2003 FIFA U-17 World
- 2004 UEFA U-17 European
- Professional Footballers'
- Premier League Player of
the Month: January 2007, September 2007
Young Player of the Year: 200708
Team of the Year: 200708
- Euro 2008 Team of the
- UEFA Team of the Year:
- UEFA Team of the
- Bravo Award (under-21
equivalent of Ballon d'Or): 2006
- UEFA U-17 European
Championship Golden Player: 2004
- FIFA U-17 Golden Shoe:
- FIFA U-17 Golden Ball:
- O2/Arsenal.com Player of
the Season: 200607, 200708
Fābregas starred in his own one-time only television
programme, called "The Cesc Fābregas Show: Nike Live",
that aired on 19 May 2008. The programme was sponsored by Nike
and was shown on Sky Sports. The show featured Fābregas in
several sketches with Arsenal teammates like Philippe Senderos
and Nicklas Bendtner, as well as coach Arsčne Wenger, Fābregas'
parents and Little Britain star Matt Lucas.
Cesc is an amazing footballer, however
there are still some things he could improve on
(obviously nothing springs to mind when I want it to but
you get me) - xox
come to barca.
better than ronaldo and
lampard. best player in the world.
FABREGAS!!!!!!!!! truly the best player in the
world from zak
fab is fab. i luv him so much n + im his no. 1 fan love liam
FABREGAS IS JUST THE BEST MIDFIELDER IN THE WORLD AT THE
MOMENT AND IF HE STAYS AT HIS STANDARDS HE ALWAYS SHOULD BE
i am your birthday mate i love ur game
Fabregas is one of the best football players I've ever seen. I
have a season ticket at arsenal and that goal against mancity was fabulous.
Charlie - London
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