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Not such a fab send-off for Cesc

OPINION: Former Arsenal midfielder never really looked convincing as a Mr Chelsea

10 January, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Cesc Fabregas clocked off from Chelsea with a penalty miss on Sunday

MOST of us are polite people. We don’t go out of our way to offend, we are not here to burst bubbles. So if somebody raves on about how much they love something but we do not share the same rapture, the virtues of frankness and honesty need not be applied.

I’ve lived with a green sofa in the front room without raising an objection. I accidentally agreed to go to an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical once for fear of upsetting the organisers of the night out, and if you lot all say Killing Eve is the most fantastic programme ever made, then I guess, yes, I suppose it is. It was very good, your favourite programme.

Despite our best efforts, this polite consensus, nodding in agreement to something we plainly don’t feel, can often be traced across our faces.

No better example of this has been Cesc Fabregas in the past four years.

On Sunday, he clocked off from Chelsea with a penalty miss, which sort of summed up his time at Stamford Bridge. Ask him if he’s had a great time in a blue shirt, and I’m sure he will nod his head. Nod, nod, nod, he will. Yes, definitely, he may say, in a slightly robotic voice, it has been great. But what does he really think?

For all the attempts at a grand send-off – you only have to play for four seasons to get one of those at Chelsea – there’s never really been a feeling that Chelsea fans were besotted with Fabregas, and Fabregas is not wholly believable in the role of proud, departing player. Even for a club whose history men are mostly from the past decade, Fabregas does not stand out as a memorable Chelsea hero.

You can’t blame his doleful looks, the sparkle from his youth has somehow left him. He left Arsenal, after playing more matches for the club than he would for any other, believing he was heading home, like a prodigal son to Barcelona.

How must it have felt, then, when Barca said they were ready to let him go? Where to? The noise was he wanted to “come home” again, but Arsene Wenger conspicuously turned down the chance to re-sign him – oof! – and he joined Chelsea instead.

He won league titles and the FA Cup, and yet never really looked convincing as a Mr Chelsea. He politely talked this weekend of how great it had all been, but his heart, somehow, still seems lost in N5.


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