Remember the days when FC Barcelona was that club everyone wanted theirs modeled after? That reputation took a big hit this season both on and off the pitch, and today the summary of Cesc Fabregas' Barcelona career published on their website did little to start the healing. Here's an excerpt:
Cesc left Barça for the Gunners when he was just 16, and stayed in London for eight successful seasons (2003-2011). He became one of Arsenal’s most iconic players, but there was much hope among Barça fans that he’d return home one day, as he did on August 15, 2011. In all his time with Arsenal, he had only won one FA Cup and one Community Shield, yet on returning to his native Catalonia, he won two further titles in his first two games . the Spanish and European Supercups, and scored three goals in his first four appearances. Guardiola had been right to bring Cesc back home. He slipped right back into the FCB system as if he’d never been away.
But despite glowing starts to each campaign, Cesc’s contributions to the cause gradually decreased as each season drew to a close. From being someone who joined in with the attack, supplying and scoring goals, the magic tended to fade later on in each season. He only scored one, six and one goals in the last 24 games of each season. For some reason, he was never as good in the second half of a season as in the first.
Fabregas was far from one of my favorite Barcelona players (and frankly, I'm not a fan of many Barca players), but it's hard not to feel for the guy after his club released this cheap shot on the day he left. The club statement echos many of the observations I had about the player in his time at Barcelona, but that's just not the sort of thing you'd expect to see published by his former employer. Can you imagine if Chelsea started putting out things like this about Fernando Torres, who has been far worse during the past three seasons than Cesc Fabregas ever was.
I suppose it will be interesting to hear what Cesc has to say about the situation, as he'll surely be asked about the swipe Barcelona took at him on his way out the door. "More than a club", indeed.