Cesc Fabregas Soler (Catalan: Fŕbregas, Spanish: Fábregas), (born
May 4, 1987 in Arenys de Mar, Catalonia, Spain), is a Catalan/Spanish
football midfielder, who currently plays for English club
Arsenal. Arsenal signed him from FC Barcelona in the middle of
2003, before Fŕbregas could sign a professional contract with
the Spanish giants. He has been touted as one of of the best of
Spain's next generation of footballers.
Before joining Arsenal, Fabregas had taken part in the FIFA U-17
World Championship and excelled; winning the Adidas Golden Shoe
for top goalscorer and Golden Ball for best player. His Spanish
team finished second in the tournament, runners-up to Brazil.
Fabregas made his team debut in a League Cup tie at home to
Rotherham United, and in doing so became Arsenal's youngest ever
first-team player. Although this doesn't count for any record,
he converted a penalty in a penalty shootout, which the Gunners
won 9-8. He then became the youngest goal scorer in Arsenal's
history in a later round of the League Cup, scoring from very
close range in a 5-1 victory against Wolves.
It was not until the start of the 2004-05 season that Fabregas
started making first team appearances. First it was against
Manchester United in the Community Shield and then four
successive Premier League starts against Everton, Middlesbrough,
Blackburn Rovers and Norwich City. Fabregas impressed many
observers in his first four appearances, claiming a goal against
Blackburn in a 3-0 victory, and went on to score Arsenal's third
goal in a 5-1 Champions League victory against Rosenborg of
Norway, making him the second youngest goalscorer in the history
of the competition.
The Spanish Under-21 international has since signed a new deal
with the Gunners that will keep him at the club until 2011. With
the departure of Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira, Fabregas has
become a first-team regular in the Arsenal midfield, making a
large number of appearances early in the 2005-06 season. He
scored the opening goal in the victory over Blackburn Rovers in
that season and another one in a substitute appearance against
Fulham on March 4, 2006. He was also touted for his performance
against Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu (the first leg of
the round of 16 in the Champions League), a game which Arsenal
won 1-0, and went even a notch higher by scoring the opening
goal 3 weeks later against Juventus in the home leg in the
quarter-finals of the same competition.
On March 1, 2006, Fabregas played his first game with the
Spanish senior national squad (becoming the youngest player
capped for Spain in 80 years), receiving rave reviews for his
debut. He even contributed an assist for David Villa's goal,
Spain's first in a 3-2 victory over the Ivory Coast.
On March 28, 2006, Fabregas played in probably his most
important fixture yet, the champion's league quarter-final first
leg against Juventus, a team dominating the Serie A in Italy. He
shone in the match, scoring Arsenal's first goal and setting up
Henry for the second. Perhaps most notably, he outplayed Patrick
Vieira, the opposition's central midfielder, who is an Arsenal
legend and Fabregas' erstwhile mentor at Highbury. Fabregas was
highly praised by teammates and the press alike, who compared
him to the likes of Wayne Rooney and Ronaldinho and even greats
like Johnny Haynes and Gérson.