Cesc Fabregas may have traded the Red of Arsenal for the the Blue of Chelsea but the Spanish midfielder showed he was still very much a Gunner at heart as he took to Instagram to pay a tribute to the departing Arsene Wenger.
Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact 🙏🏻
After 22 years of being in charge in North London, Wenger announced on Friday that he would be stepping down at the end of the 2017-18 season.
The lanky Frenchman had come under severe criticism of late for despite winning a plethora of titles in the early days of his reign, he hadn’t won the Premier League since 2004 and a majority of fans wanted him out sooner.
And Fabregas, who came through the ranks at Barcelona’s La Masia Academy before switching to the Arsenal Academy, was one of the first to pay tribute to the French tactician who gave him his first-team debut way back in 2003.
After eight fruitful seasons at Highbury/Emirates, Fabregas returned to his boyhood club Barcelona in 2011 and while Arsenal fans were forgiving then, they certainly weren’t when he returned to the English top-flight after in 2014.
For the 30-year-old chose to sign for arch-rivals Chelsea, an unforgivable act for most of the Gunners faithful.
It must be added, however, that Wenger had first right of refusal and passed up the chance to sign his former player.
Fabregas, wasn’t one to hold grudges though as he recently revealed in a Twitter Q&A that he would be open to returning to the Emirates in a coaching capacity once he hung up his boots for good.
Meanwhile, Wenger will eye to end his career with a flourish and while that will certainly not come in the Premier League, they do have a massive UEFA Europa League semi-final with Atletico Madrid on the horizon.
Winning the European competition guarantees them a place in next year’s UEFA Champions League and that is now the North Londoners’ primary aim.
The Gunners have started the process of finding Wenger’s successor already, with Luis Enrique, Carlo Ancelotti, Brendan Rodgers and Thomas Tuchel among the frontrunners for the Emirates hotseat.