Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas has claimed that Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta’s initial shortcomings at the Spanish giants was a big reason for his move to England at the tender age of 16.
The midfielder moved to Arsenal back in 2003 after coming through the Catalan club’s famed La Masia youth academy and after a few years finding his feet, became an indispensable member of the Gunners’ starting XI and was bestowed the club captaincy at just 21.
It was a daunting time for Fabregas, but it all worked out for the best, and now he has revealed that it was Iniesta who inadvertently steered him towards the move.
He told the BBC: “It was [a big decision]. I had just turned 16. Then you see Arsene Wenger there waiting for you, cutting his holiday, just to come and see you. For me it was a bit like ‘what have I done?!’
“Then they made an offer for me, Arsene was very clear he wanted me to train with the first team since day one. I’m not going to lie it was tough but a fantastic opportunity.
“At Barcelona it was so difficult. You had the likes of Iniesta who still didn’t even reach the first team at the time and he was seen as the next big thing. I had to make the decision and I did it. It happened and here I am today.”
It didn’t take Iniesta much longer to stake his claim for Barca though. Whilst Fabregas plied his trade in the Premier League, the diminutive star went on to win league and domestic titles aplenty and a few Champions Leagues to boot, earning him the recognition as one of the best midfielders in the world in the process.