AS Monaco teammates Cesc Fabregas and Aleksandr Golovin celebrate

Euro Stars: Cesc Fabregas (Spain)

Euro Stars: Cesc Fabregas (Spain)

Publish on 06/07 at 22:30 - E. DEVIN


Cesc Fabregas' spell at AS Monaco saw him add leadership and veteran nous to the Principality side

While Cesc Fabregas is best known for his spells at Barcelona, Arsenal and Chelsea, his time at AS Monaco was vital for the Principality side, helping them push for the Ligue 1 title in 2020/21 as they recovered from a challenging run of fixtures after the departures of key players like Kylian Mbappé, Fabinho and Bernardo Silva.

Initially a product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, where trained as a defensive midfielder, Fabregas decamped to London at the age of 16, joining Arsenal. With the likes of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva firmly ensconced in the first team as the team won the league title while going unbeaten, Fabregas would come to impress with a bravura that belied his years.

After eight seasons in North London, Fabregas moved back to his boyhood club, where he helped La Blaugrana win the league in his first campaign. From there, he moved to Chelsea, where he would win two more league titles before joining AS Monaco in January 2019.

The 2018/19 season was the most challenging in the Principality side’s recent history, with Thierry Henry’s interregnum failing to help the club progress in the UEFA Champions League or pull clear of the relegation scrap, despite the presence of veterans like Radamel Falcao and Kamil Glik. Things improved in Fabregas’ second season, though — the arrival of Wissam Ben Yedder added attacking impetus and the team finished ninth, just a point off the European places in a campaign truncated by COVID-19.

The 2020-21 season was inarguably the finest of the Spaniard’s spell in the principality, though — while injuries limited his availability at times, he was a regular starter when fit, and helped Niko Kovac’s side finish third in a tightly-contested title race and reach the Coupe de France final. Fabregas’ impressive display in a 3-2 over Paris Saint-Germain was his best moment, as he netted a penalty late on to complete a dramatic comeback over the defending champions.

While injuries all but ended his final season in Monaco, he would leave the club with his head held high, ending his playing career with a brief spell Italy before moving into management. For Spain, Fabregas was, along with Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso, part of a talented midfield which saw La Roja win two European titles in 2008 and 2012, as well as the 2010 World Cup. Retiring with more than 100 caps, Fabregas is today seen as a true legend of the game, and a player whose class and leadership were vital for a young AS Monaco side.