Injuries, intense competition for places and a short career window means that many footballers are often cruelly robbed of opportunities to play on the biggest stage.
But for Cesc Fabregas, his supreme talent has been matched with an impressive longevity. After emerging from Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy, the mercurial midfielder transferred to Arsenal where he became the club’s youngest debutant in 2003 at 16 years and 177 days old.
He went on to play for Barcelona, Chelsea and was capped 110 times for Spain, playing at three World Cups (winning in 2010) and three European Championships (winning in 2008 and 2012). Also sitting in his trophy cabinet are two Premier Leagues, one Europa League and two FA Cups from his time in England; one La Liga, two Super Cups and a Spanish Cup, plus a Club World Cup.
Now 32, Fabregas is happily pulling the strings in the middle of the pitch at AS Monaco, while enjoying a peaceful and fulfilling life off the field with his family. One of the most intelligent players of the last 20 years, Fabregas spoke to EDGAR about life in Monaco, Mbappe, passing on his knowledge to young players and life after football.