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Cesc Fabregas

Supplied AS Monaco FC

The Complete Midfielder

interviewWe talk exclusively to ex-Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas about his illustrious career, how training now takes its toll and how life at AS Monaco is treating him.

The complete midfielder still has a lot to give as we found out in our exclusive interview with Cesc Fabregas.

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.

Q.

Why was the move to AS Monaco right for you?

A.

Well, I was at Chelsea ending my contract and I had many opportunities. I was really happy in London and at Chelsea but maybe something needed to be changed in my life. I had the opportunity to speak with Thierry [Henry, ex Monaco coach] many times and he really wanted me to come to Monaco. Obviously, it’s a place that I’ve been coming to with my family for vacation for the last 10 years. I knew the place very well and I knew that me, my kids and my wife could be very happy. Thierry had a big project in his head and he wanted me to be a piece of that so that’s why I decided to come.

Q.

[Thierry Henry was sacked in January 2019 after just 20 games]. Do you think Henry will return to coaching in Europe one day?

A.

For sure. He’s very young, he only did three months as coach in Monaco, now he is at Montreal Impact and I wish him the best because he deserves it. As a coach, three months is not too long to work out your ideas and do what you want to do. I’m sure he will come back.

Q.

Does coaching appeal to you?

A.

Yes, definitely, coaching is something that I would like to do in the future. I don’t want to think about the future because I still have matches to play.

Cesc Fabregas playing for Monaco against OGC Nice in 2019/20 season.

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Supplied Directing traffic at the heart of AS Monaco's midfield.

Q.

Do you enjoy talking to young players about the game?

A.

Yeah, I love football, I’ve always been like this. Even when I was 21, I was captain at Arsenal, I used to really like speaking with everybody. I have my vision of how things should be. I understand that every player is different and it depends on the coach and what he wants, but I always talk to them to see what they can improve, especially with the young players here at Monaco. I know how difficult it is to start when you are young, everyone expects a lot from you.

Q.

Is there a special message you think it’s important to give youngsters?

A.

Everyone has a different mentality, some young players are lazier, some you don’t need to talk to them because they have a lot in their head. You need to learn from everyone, but having a good attitude is the most important thing.

Q.

How do you feel about former players like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mikel Arteta getting top managerial jobs with limited experience?

A.

It doesn’t matter [about experience]. Of course you sometimes need a little bit of experience but if you’re good enough you will be able to do well. Guardiola did it, Zidane did it, and they are some of the best coaches in the history. I have no doubt that you also need a bit of luck.

Shot of Monaco's bay with yachts and rolling mountains.

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© Alexander Migl The luxury locale where Fabregas now calls home.

Cesc Fabregas playing for Monaco against OGC Nice in 2019/20 season.

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Supplied Fabregas is the obvious choice for the AS Monaco captaincy.

Q.

Tell us more about the lifestyle in Monaco. How have you found it?

A.

My life is football, so if football goes well I’m happy, if football doesn’t go well I’m not happy. I lived in London and Barcelona all my life, both great cities. Monaco is obviously very nice, my wife and kids are happy, which is the most important thing, the rest is all about the football.

Q.

What’s the pace of life like there?

A.

Monaco is very quiet, which is maybe something I needed in my career and my life. I had 16 years with a lot of pressure in my head and of course here it’s a little bit different.

Q.

What do you feel is the big difference between Monaco and London or Barcelona?

A.

In London everything is very fast, everyone is moving, everyone works, in Barcelona it’s the same idea. Here, it’s a bit more relaxed, people travel a lot, it’s quiet, you can walk everywhere. Security is also important to me. It’s safe for parents to know that your kids are secure.

Q.

Monaco has such a big sports scene with Formula One, yachts and tennis tournaments. Are you interested in any of that?

A.

Actually, I have always wanted to go to the Monaco Grand Prix but it has been the same throughout my career: it was usually held on the last game of the season, or it was something else. Finally, last year I had the opportunity to see this event and it was really nice. Monaco becomes crazy in the three months before the event, because they do all the set-ups and the construction of the track.

Q.

You mentioned London, what do you miss about living there?

A.

London is like my home. When I retire I will probably go and live in London. I spent 13 years of my life over there and I’ve been so happy, I have many friends. I became a man in London so for me it is a very special place.

Kylian Mbappe celebrating scoring a goal for France.

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Wiki Commons Kylian Mbappé could become the "complete package" says Fabregas

Q.

You’ve played matches against PSG’s Kylian Mbappé who began his career at Monaco. How fast is he?

A.

Yeah, he is really fast! He is one of these players that, as a midfielder, you would love to have as a striker. His timing of his runs is very good, he’s very smart.

Q.

How good do you think he could become?

A.

I think he can become a complete player so it’s all up to him. He’s still very young, he could improve many, many things. If he has the right mentality and attitude, for sure, he can become one of the best. A lot of players came out from the Monaco academy in the past years and they did very well and went to play for big European teams so it didn’t surprise me.

Q.

You started your career very young, and you’ve played so much football. How do you feel physically these days?

A.

To be honest now, I feel very good physically. I think football is not about the age, it’s about how many games you play. I have played 799 games in my career; my next game will be the 800th. So for a 32-year-old guy, it’s crazy. It’s a lot of football in my legs and in my mind. I feel good, I train very hard, and always try to take care of myself. Football is my passion and I do everything to always be good at it.

Q.

What is the most important thing you do to help your body cope with playing matches?

A.

At my age the most important thing is recovery. When you’re young you recover quickly but the older you get the legs need more recovery. I do cryotherapy everyday at the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, plus special training and I eat very well of course. It’s all about taking care of yourself.

Q.

Do you still have the desire to train every day and to play matches?

A.

Yeah, more than ever. The closer you get to the end, the more you want to enjoy it.

Q.

Who is your best friend in football?

A.

It’s impossible to say, I have so many friends in the game. You know, the most beautiful thing in football is winning a lot of trophies, but the most important thing is the friends that football give you with memories. 

Q.

Finally, of all the players you’ve called a team-mate, who is the most intelligent…

A.

Lionel Messi, definitely.

Q.

The fastest…

A.

Probably Theo Walcott.

Q.

The toughest…

A.

I would say Patrick Vieira.

Q.

The funniest…

A.

Diego Costa!

Diego Costa holding football.

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Diego Costa Funnyman.

END OF INTERVIEW

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