Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has revealed he quit the club for Barcelona in 2011, admitting he had become drained by ‘the behaviour from certain play’ and suffered sleepless nights due to the pressure of leading the team.
Fabregas started his career at the Emirates and went on to become the second-youngest Arsenal captain ever after he took on the armband at the age of just 21.
But the 2010 FIFA World Cup winner said the responsibility soon became a burden too heavy to bear.
He questioned certain stars playing for the club, saying that only Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri showed the same level of desire and ability as him.
The 32-year-old, now playing for Monaco, said he put pressure on himself to lead the team to success, but noticed that while he felt devastated after the Gunners had lost a game, some of his team-mates didn’t look phased.
“I was the captain, I always felt so much pressure on myself,” he told Arseblog. “I had to lead this team to win something. I gave everything. Sometimes, I used to go home after we lost and I used to cry.
“I used to suffer, I used to spend sleepless nights suffering. And then you lose a game, you’re in the bus like this, destroyed, and then you hear some players laughing, thinking about where they will be going out later.”
Fabregas said the issue had been ongoing ‘for a few years’, and soon began to feel ‘lonely’ and recognised the club were hugely lacking in personnel who were willing to give their all and produce quality – with van Persie and Nasri the standouts.
“This was going on for a few years. We were playing beautiful football and I enjoyed that side of things but I was putting pressure on myself to lead, to do everything and at one point I felt kind of lonely.
“Especially in the last two or three years, I felt Robin and Samir were the only players – it’s not an arrogant thing to say, it’s how I felt at that time – were the players who were at my level mentally and technically.”
The midfielder was regularly linked with the Arsenal exit door, and often rumoured to be returning to his boyhood team Barcelona, and the day eventually came for him to head back to the Catalan outfit in 2011.
He signed for Pep Guardiola’s men in a £35million deal, saying at the time that he would ‘always be an Arsenal fan because what they have done for me is unbelievable’.
But looking back Fabregas said he felt ’empty’ by the end of his Gunners career having given everything, but ultimately decided to quit due to the negativity around his team-mates who weren’t on the same page as him.
Many things came in my head, I have to admit I was a bit empty, I was drained mentally, physically, in my soul knowing I’m giving everything, knowing a few signings the club could have made but didn’t happen.
“Seeing some behaviours from certain players or something like this made me feel I wanted to check something else. If it was not because of that, I would not have left Arsenal at that time.”
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