The former Arsenal captain admits that it is a surprise to be playing under Jose Mourinho at the Blues but holds no ill feeling over his departure from Barcelona
Chelsea new-boy Cesc Fabregas admits that the idea of playing for the Blues under Jose Mourinho would have been unthinkable for him not long ago.
The former Arsenal star returned to the Premier League this summer after failing to seal a regular place in the team at Barcelona but is adamant that Stamford Bridge – and London in particular – is the right home for him now.
“[If you’d told me five years ago that I would play for Chelsea and Mourinho] I would not have believed you, but life changes,” he told El Pais.
“I started to think about [leaving Barca] after the Copa del Rey final. It was when I started to think that it had finished, that there was a change or that I didn’t want to continue.
“No, [I did not talk with Luis Enrique]. I told the club the week after losing the title, from London, in the week off before the World Cup. I called [sporting director Andoni] Zubizarreta – and, from the response, I felt that I had done them a favour, that it was good for them and for me.
“I spoke with my agent and told him to find me a team. Chelsea’s offer arrived and for me it was about returning to London, the place where I did best. There was no better exit. I spoke with Mourinho and he told me things that I needed to hear; I felt valued, felt that I was going to be part of something important.”
Though a section of Blaugrana fans turned against Fabregas towards the end of his spell at Camp Nou, the midfielder does not feel harshly treated by his boyhood club.
The Spaniard said: “I don’t have any complaints. If they whistled me, they had their reasons. If they criticised me, they had their reasons. I know I never played alone.
“There were good and bad games, I know that, but no, I never felt badly treated. I don’t have any complaints for anybody. I prefer to only look at myself, knowing that I have done badly and have done well, and I take friends, experiences and great memories from Barcelona.
“I can’t be more proud … 150 games, 42 goals; I only take the good things from it. I could have been better but I could have been worse.
“I realised a dream. I could not leave football without playing for Barcelona.”
Some Arsenal fans were furious that their former captain would join a direct rival such as Chelsea but Fabregas insists that, while he still respects his connection to the Gunners, he will have no problem playing against them.
“Don’t think that I didn’t think things through [about the Arsenal connection],” he insisted. “I will always feel a Gunner and I know that I am going to return to [the Emirates Stadium] and I feel that it will be a special moment but I am committed.
“Remember that I played a Champions League final against Barcelona! I swear to you that I would have done anything to win that game [even though] I’d been Barcelona since I was a kid!
“So you know that when I play against Arsenal I will know who I am playing with, who my team-mates are and who I will defend and I know that the Arsenal fans will understand; I have no doubt.”