Seventeen and a half years ago a 16-year-old Spanish midfielder became the youngest ever senior player for Arsenal, in a League Cup tie versus Rotherham United.
For many, cabinets are used to store mugs and glasses. Not for Cesc Fabregas. The 34-year-old midfielder will go down as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation having played pivotal roles in winning trophies for club and country.
From becoming Arsenal’s youngest ever goal scorer in 2003 against Wolverhampton Wanderers to famously assisting the first goal of four in the EURO 2012 final versus Italy, Fabregas was the ultimate big game player.
StoryHub brings your FIVE of Fabregas’ career defining moments on his 34th birthday.
5. Premier League debut for Chelsea
The Spaniard dramatically signed for Chelsea from Barcelona in a deal worth nearly £30 million.
However, Fabregas had not only joined his former club’s London rivals, he had also joined forces with former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho!
Fabregas instantly made waves upon his return to the Premier League with a delicately placed half-volley assist to set up the Blues’ first goal of the domestic 2014/15 campaign.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 4, 2021
4. First Premier League goal
Fabregas scored his first Premier League goal at the age of just 17-years-old versus Blackburn.
— Stuart MacFarlane 🎗📷 (@Stuart_PhotoAFC) March 25, 2021
The young Spanish midfielder featured in a Gunners side lined with club legends, like Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires.
3. A boy amongst men
In 2008, after just 14 games into the Premier League season Arsene Wenger named Fabregas as the new club captain, taking over from William Gallas.
The Spaniard went on to become the youngest ever captain in a UEFA Champions League knockout match, before Matthijs De Ligt broke the record in 2019.
Last night Matthijs de Ligt (19) became the youngest starting captain in a Champions League knockout match, breaking the record by Cesc Fàbregas (21) in 2009.
What a future he has! pic.twitter.com/826SRsJFs2
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) February 14, 2019
Fabregas helped guide the Gunners to a Champions League semi-final and a fourth place finish in the league. Iconic.
2. The Barcelona Dream
After a fairytale period at Arsenal, Fabregas soon out grew the Gunners and eventually signed for boyhood club Barcelona for £30 million.
He went on to make 151 appearances for the Catalonia side, scoring 42 and assisting 50 whilst also lifting six trophies in the meantime.
ON THIS DAY: In 2011, Barcelona signed Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal for £35m.
🏆 🏆 Supercopa de España
🏆 La Liga
🏆 Copa del Rey
🏆 UEFA Super Cup
🏆 FIFA Club World Cup
Money well spent. pic.twitter.com/k1s2BZvBMZ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 15, 2019
Fabregas flourished in Barcelona; however, it was not until the 2011/12 season when the Spaniard stamped his authority on world football.
That season he scored 15 goals and recorded 20 assists in 48 games before going on to orchestrate a magical European Championship campaign…
1. Three’s a crowd
In addition to Fabregas’ illustrious club career, tallying over 700 appearances, he also etched himself into national history.
He made 110 appearances for the Spanish national team, scoring fifteen goals, lifting two European Championships in 2008 and 2012 as well as a historic World Cup in 2010.
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 27, 2020
Fabregas asserted himself as one of the most technically gifted players in world football, ensuring that his talent was never understated.