Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas. Barcelona’s midfield options in the early 2010s were rather frightening. The latter was the last to join the club, having joined from Arsenal in 2011.
All four were in the La Masia academy at various times, but Fabregas left in 2003 before having an opportunity to feature in the first team in Catalonia. At Arsenal, he was given his debut aged 16, and was considered to be a key player at the time of his departure.
Speaking on Kammy and Ben’s Proper Football Podcast (as per MD), Fabregas revealed his reasons for leaving Arsenal in favour of a return to Barcelona.
“I decided to come back after seeing everyone winning in Barcelona, and playing so well. Pep (Guardiola) also kept calling me and sending me messages. I decided that was the next step for me.”
Fabregas was an important part of the first team at Barcelona when he returned, but his prominence was less than it could’ve been due to the presence of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets. He stated that in hindsight, he rejects the timing of his move to the Blaugrana.
“Looking back, I probably should have waited a little longer, until Xavi shut down a bit, and then go there to take his place. However, the frustration of so many years without winning at Arsenal overwhelmed me, and I decided to leave.”
Fabregas certainly make his mark at Barcelona when he was at the club, but he certainly feels that his impact should’ve been even greater.