When Cesc Fabregas moved from Barcelona to Chelsea this past summer, not everyone was convinced he would flourish. The 27-year-old had failed to find a regular place at the Catalan giants and was reduced to a less effective role than he had played at Arsenal. Had Fabregas lost his edge or was Barcelona failing to get the most out of the midfielder?
Within weeks of returning to the Premier League, however, it was clear that Fabregas still had talent in abundance. He was not a false 9, or an attacking midfielder or a winger. Fabregas was a deep laying playmaker, this much Jose Mourinho knew. And by pairing him with a destroyer like Nemanja Matic and a striker like Diego Costa, Mourinho has allowed Fabregas to flourish with the Spaniard now claiming he’s playing the best football of his life.
“I feel that right now I am playing some of the best football of my career,” Fabregas said. “I am in my best position, 100 per cent. I feel more in control of the game, I touch the ball all the time, I feel happy, I go and get the ball from here, from there, I can go forward, Oscar drops deep. I feel free, I feel confident, I feel in control and that’s what I like the most in football.
“Sometimes, in the last three or four years in the national team and Barcelona, I was playing like a No 9. I mean, I have to do it for the team and I enjoy, and it’s all good. But, here, where I am playing today, it’s where I enjoy my football the most.”
Fabregas also discussed the need to put substance over style, something that may not have been the case at Arsenal but is certainly one of Mourinho’s tenets.
“Potentially, this team can be very, very good but we have to win trophies,” Fabregas said. “I always said it, no one remembers if there was a great, great team and you don’t win. We have to win and that will say a lot from us. People will judge it how they want to judge it. The most important thing is to keep it going and at the end of the season we can talk.
“I didn’t come here to just play well and that’s it. I came here to win trophies and if I could play well and enjoy myself, the better. There will be games I cannot enjoy myself because other teams will approach games differently. But the most important thing for me is we know what we are doing, we know when we defend, when we have to attack, when we slow the pace, go quicker. I think right now, we are doing that very, very well.”
Fresh off their 5-0 win over Schalke on Tuesday, Chelsea and Fabregas face Sunderland at Stamford Bridge this Saturday.