Remembering Cesc Fabregas' Best Premier League Moments
If Cesc Fabregas returns to the Premier League this summer, he'll have a hard time topping his first act.
Fabregas, now a midfielder with FC Barcelona in Spain's La Liga, featured for Arsenal in the Premier League from 2003-11. This summer, the Spain international is the subject of a £30 million bid by Manchester United, per Sky Sports.
Barcelona president Sandro Rossell has warned United off Fabregas' trail, per BBC Sport, so a move is not necessarily imminent. But with rumors swirling, we decided to compile a list of Fabregas' best moments during his first tour of duty in the Premier League.
Enjoy, and add your favorite memories to the comments section below.
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Cesc first appeared for Arsenal on October 28, 2003, in a 1-1 League Cup draw against Rotterham. Aged 16 years and 177 days, Fabregas that day became the youngest player to represent Arsenal in any competition.
It was the first in a series of landmarks for the young midfielder.
In December of the same year, in another League Cup match, Fabregas became Arsenal's youngest first-team goal scorer. He then made his league debut in August 2004 and the same became Arsenal's youngest goal scorer in league play, notching a tally against Blackburn in a 3-0 win.
Out of Vieira's Shadow
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During the 2005-06 season, Cesc became an integral part of Arsenal's midfield following the departure of Patrick Vieira.
The Gunners faced Vieira's Juventus in the Champions League quarterfinals in March of that season on their way to the final, and Fabregas scored the opener and produced a performance that showed why manager Arsene Wenger had placed so much faith in him.
It wasn't the Premier League, but it was a major moment for the Premier League club in Europe. As was the following…
San Siro Master Class
Again, this wasn't a Premier League moment, per se. But it was a major moment for Cesc's Arsenal.
After playing in the 2006 Champions League final as a 19-year-old, Fabregas turned in another European master class two years later.
This time the stage was the Round of 16 and the opponent was AC Milan. Once again, Fabregas sparkled as Arsenal won 2-0 and became the first English club to beat Milan at the San Siro.
Fabregas even opened the scoring with a classy long-distance shot in the 84th minute.
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Eight months later, in November 2008, Cesc Fabregas became Arsenal's captain.
Manager Arsene Wenger, who had recently stripped French defender William Gallas of the captaincy, handed the armband to Cesc, who was only 21 at the time.
"Fabregas will be the captain, permanently," Wenger told BBC Sport. "I do not have to explain to you why."
Indeed. Cesc did that all by himself.
Away to Manchester United, September 2006
Arsenal struggled at the beginning of the 2006-07 Premier League season, starting the campaign with two draws and one loss. For their fourth match, the Gunners visited Old Trafford to play Manchester United.
When they got there, Cesc dominated, turning in what B/R's James Dudko has called a "colossal performance."
See for yourself. Arsenal won 1-0 on an Emmanuel Adebayor goal set up by Fabregas, and the highlights appear in the video at left.
Home to Blackburn, October 2009
In an October 2009 league match, Arsenal fell behind Blackburn twice before storming to a 6-2 victory at the Emirates Stadium. Cesc "shimmered," according to The Guardian's match report, notching four assists and adding one goal.
In addition to all that, the Spain midfielder kissed the Arsenal badge amid heavy media speculation over his future—with former Gunner Thierry Henry watching from the stands after his move to Barcelona.
"There's always speculation I don't like it here but I am committed to this club 100 per cent," Fabregas said, per The Guardian. "It's my seventh season and it's hard to hear people say they think I'm not committed enough. It was a good time to show them I really love this club."
Fabregas would later join Barca, but not before becoming an Arsenal legend.
Captain's Performance After Ramsey Injury
Arsenal won 3-1 at Stoke in February 2010 in a match that is best remembered for a horrific injury to Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey.
Following the injury, Cesc pulled the team together, scored a penalty and turned in a performance worthy of a true captain. In doing so, he again demonstrated his value to the team and importance as a leader.
Fun with the Media
Cesc's time in England wasn't always so serious. Take for instance this segment from television program Soccer Am, in which Fabregas dishes the dirt about some of his teammates.
One can only wonder: What in the world was Carlos Vela doing in the shower for so long?
And then there's this clip from Cesc's early days with the club, when Thierry Henry provided some much-needed guidance during an interview. Would you just look at Cesc's expression!
Goals, Goals, Goals
Cesc Fabregas scored 57 goals for Arsenal. Coincidentally, 57 was also his number upon breaking into the first team.
All 57 goals appear in the video at left. Below are some of our favorites.
Speaking of Spurs…
That Goal Against Tottenham
Cesc's best goal with Arsenal came against an appropriate opponent, London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, on Halloween 2009.
Arsenal took the lead through Robin van Persie just before halftime, and within seconds of the restart, Cesc had doubled Arsenal's advantage with a mesmerizing solo effort.
It happened so fast, the television cameras almost missed it. Watch for yourself in the video at left.
Arsenal won the match 3-0.