Arenys de Mar, Spain
Francesc "Cesc" FÃ bregas Soler (, born 4 May 1987) is a Spanish footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team. FÃ bregas plays mainly as a central midfielder but has also played as a winger or a second striker on some occasions.
FÃ bregas started his career as a trainee with Barcelona but was signed by Premier League side Arsenal in September 2003 at the age of 16. Following injuries to key midfielders in the 2004–05 season, he went on to establish himself as Arsenal's starting central midfielder, playmaker and captain. He broke several of the club's records in the process, earning a reputation as one of the best young players for his position. After protracted transfer negotiations, FÃ bregas returned to Barcelona; the Catalan giants signed the midfielder for an initial fee of â�¬29 million with a further â�¬5 million in variables on 15 August 2011.
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 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, helping Spain to become eventual winners in the three most recent tournaments.
FÃ bregas was born in Arenys de Mar, Barcelona, Catalonia to Francesc FÃ bregas, Sr., who runs a property company, and NÃºria Soler, the owner of a pastry company. FÃ bregas has supported FC Barcelona since childhood and went to his first match when he was nine months old with his grandfather. He began his club football career with CE Mataró, before being signed for Barcelona's La Masia youth academy aged 10 in 1997. His first coach, SeÃ±or Blai, reportedly did not select FÃ bregas for matches against Barcelona in an attempt to hide him from their scouts. This tactic, however, was unable to withstand Barcelona for long, and MatarÃ³ gave in and allowed FÃ bregas to train with Barcelona one day per week. Eventually FÃ bregas joined Barcelona's academy full-time. His initial training was as a defensive midfielder playing alongside notable names such as Gerard Piqué and Lionel Messi. Although he was a prolific scorer, sometimes scoring even more than 30 goals in a season for the club's youth teams, he did not manage to play a first team game at the Camp Nou. During his time at Barcelona's youth academy, FÃ bregas idolised Barcelona's then-captain and number four Pep Guardiola, who would later give FÃ bregas his shirt as consolation when FÃ bregas' parents divorced.
Adapting to England
right|Fàbregas (left) in a game against Sheffield United F.C.|Sheffield United in 2006
Sensing that he would have limited opportunities at Barcelona, 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. He nevertheless made his debut 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 goalscorer in Arsenal's history in a later round of the League Cup, scoring in a 5â��1 victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Although Arsenal went on to win the league unbeaten in the 2003–04 season, FÃ bregas was not awarded a winner's medal because he did not play a single league game.
It was not until the start of the 2004–05 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 FA Community Shield. Following an injury to Vieira, FÃ bregas 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 3â��0 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. He signed his first professional contract with Arsenal in September 2004, which committed his long-term future to the club. In October 2004, Arsenal lost 2â��0 to Manchester United, ending their 49-match unbeaten run in the Premier League. The match was dubbed the "Battle of the Buffet" after pizza was thrown at Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the match in the players' tunnel by a then-unknown Arsenal player. Speculation that the player was FÃ bregas was confirmed in November 2011 by former Arsenal player Martin Keown on a phone-in show on BBC Radio 5 Live. In the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League, he became the second-youngest goalscorer in the competition's history after scoring the third goal against Rosenborg in a 5â��1 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, FÃ bregas was given the Frenchman's number 4 shirt and featured regularly in the Arsenal central midfield alongside Gilberto Silva. He made 49 appearances in all competitions during the 2005–06 season. Despite his young age, his performances came under greater scrutiny due to his increased involvement in the first team. Further, as FÃ bregas 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. 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 2â��1, completing a trophyless 2005â��06 campaign for Arsenal.
upright|Fàbregas celebrates a goal with his Arsenal team-mates
FÃ bregas' 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 Arsène 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) to the midfielder, which he signed on 19 October 2006. While the contract was unusually long, FÃ bregas cited Arsenal's playing style and Wenger as reasons for his long-term commitment to the club.
float|left|150px|Fàbregas was appointed captain of the team during the 2008–09 season
The 2006–07 season was a learning experience for the young Arsenal squad and FÃ bregas. The club again failed to secure any major honours and were defeated by city rivals Chelsea in the League Cup Final. However, FÃ bregas emerged as one of the key creative players for the team, playing in every single league game. 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 2007. 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 2007–08 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 goalscorer and captain, Thierry Henry, who signed for Barcelona. There was also speculation over Wenger's future with the club. FÃ bregas knew that he would become the most important player for Arsenal, but stated he was ready for the challenge. 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 October, as well as the Premier League Player of the Month for September. With Arsenal leading the league table until March, FÃ bregas was equally instrumental in the club's 2007–08 Champions League campaign; in the return leg against Milan, the midfielder scored late in the game to send Arsenal into the quarter-finals. Though Arsenal ended the season trophyless, FÃ bregas amassed several personal awards. On 11 April 2008, FÃ bregas was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards for the second year running; he was later crowned the winner of the latter, and named in the PFA Team of the Year. He was also named the 2007â��08 Arsenal.com Player of the Season.
upright|Fàbregas as captain during the 2008–09 Champions League semi-final
On 24 November 2008, 14 league games into the 2008–09 season, FÃ bregas was named as the successor to William Gallas as club captain. However, just as Arsenal were getting back into the title race after a poor start to the season, the Spaniard was ruled out for four months after sustaining a knee injury against Liverpool. The Gunners eventually finished the season without any silverware, coming in fourth in the league and being knocked out at the semi-finals of the 2008–09 Champions League campaign. In tandem with Arsenal's policy to groom its young players, the team that FÃ bregas led into the new season consisted mostly of the same young nucleus as before, with the likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Gaël Clichy, Abou Diaby, Denílson, Samir Nasri, Alexandre Song, and Theo Walcott in tow.
left|Fàbregas in a game against rivals Tottenham Hotspur F.C.|Tottenham in November 2010
In the opening league game of 2009–10 season, FÃ bregas scored a brace and managed two assists in Arsenal's 6â��1 away win against Everton. Arsenal went on to secure qualification for the 2009–10 Champions League campaign by beating Celtic over two legs, but their early momentum to the season was disrupted by consecutive league game losses to Manchester United and Manchester City. The team bounced back strongly after this setback, and with FÃ bregas being prolific in scoring and setting up his teammates, it went unbeaten in the next 13 games. Despite suffering four league losses even before mid-season approached, Arsenal managed to lead the league standings after 22 games. On 31 March 2010, in the Champions League first leg of the quarter-final against Barcelona, FÃ bregas suffered a leg fracture before scoring the equalising goal in the game which ended 2â��2. they were subsequently eliminated by Barcelona in the Champions League, and fell out of the league title race. FÃ bregas was later named to the PFA Team of the Year.
upright|Fàbregas tries to subdue an argument between future teammate Sergio Busquets and former Arsenal teammate Robin van Persie.
Before the start of the 2010–11 season, there was once again intense media speculation about the Spaniard's future, and in June 2010, a â�¬35 million bid from Barcelona was rejected. The 2010â��11 season turned out to be an extremely competitive one in the Premier League; even though Arsenal had lost five games before mid-season, they were jostling for pole position with Manchester United and Manchester City. Going into late February, Arsenal were still in contention for the quadruple, but within a span of two weeks they lost in the League Cup final, were eliminated by Barcelona in the Round of 16 of the Champions League, and defeated in the FA Cup quarter-final. Although FÃ bregas did not play in the League Cup Final, it was his misplaced backheel pass during the second leg of the Champions League game against Barcelona that allowed them to level the aggregate score. Arsenal remained in contention for the league title until a series of draws in the final third of the season caused them to fall too far behind league leaders Manchester United; they ended the season fourth. The following season was once again marked by uncertainty. Barcelona made several bids for FÃ bregas, while Nasri, Arsenal's star performer the previous campaign, was courted by Manchester City.
right|200px|Fàbregas during his presentation to Barcelona
On 15 August 2011, Barcelona signed FÃ bregas for an initial fee of â�¬29 million with a further â�¬5 million in variables.
- FIFA U-17 World Championship Golden Shoe: 2003
- FIFA U-17 World Championship Golden Ball: 2003
- UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship Golden Player: 2004
- Bravo Award: 2006
- Golden Boy: 2006
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2006, 2008
- Premier League Player of the Month: January 2007, September 2007
- ESM Team of the Year: 2007â��08, 2009â��10
- PFA Young Player of the Year: 2007â��08
- PFA Team of the Year: 2007â��08, 2009â��10
- UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2008, 2012
In 2011, Fabregas signed a sponsorship deal with German sportswear and equipment supplier, Puma. He appeared in an advert for the new Puma PowerCat 1.12 in September 2011 and was one of the flagship wearers of Puma's PowerCat range of football boots.
FÃ bregas starred in his own one-time only television programme, called "The Cesc FÃ bregas Show: Nike Live", that aired on 19 May 2008. The programme was sponsored by Nike and was shown on Sky Sports. The show featured FÃ bregas in several sketches with Arsenal teammates like Philippe Senderos and Nicklas Bendtner, as well as coach Arsène Wenger, FÃ bregas's parents and Little Britain star Matt Lucas.
FÃ bregas is also an Honorary Patron of the campaign against racism in football and society, Show Racism the Red Card.
- FC Barcelona official profile
- BDFutbol profile
- National team data
- Transfermarkt profile
- 2010 FIFA World Cup profile
Category:People from Maresme
Category:Association football midfielders
Category:Premier League players
Category:Arsenal F.C. players
Category:La Liga footballers
Category:FC Barcelona footballers
Category:Spain youth international footballers
Category:Spain under-21 international footballers
Category:Spain international footballers
Category:2006 FIFA World Cup players
Category:UEFA Euro 2008 players
Category:2009 FIFA Confederations Cup players
Category:2010 FIFA World Cup players
Category:UEFA Euro 2012 players
Category:UEFA European Football Championship-winning players
Category:FIFA World Cup-winning players
Category:Spanish expatriate footballers
Category:Expatriate footballers in England
ca:Francesc Fàbregas i Soler
- BOC Rank