Cesc Fàbregas’s transition from first-team starter to the best 12th man in football this season has been accompanied by the the former Barcelona and Arsenal star showing tremendous commitment, work ethic, and, simply put, professionalism to fight for his place in the side and convince Antonio Conte of his qualities. The season started with Fàbregas at the front of the queue for the exit door; the season ends with many lamenting the fact that he did not start against Arsenal in the FA Cup final.
Cesc himself was left disappointed by that decision, though we should not expect otherwise from a man who’s proven to be such a great competitor in his three years at Chelsea.
"I thought I was playing very, very well in the last few months. I was in great form and it was a shame I didn't start the game. I was playing very well and the team was winning, scoring a lot of goals and defending well."
"That is football, you have to accept decisions. It is a bad day and a shame because we wanted to win. The most important thing is the team didn't win. Sometimes it is all about the coach's decision. I don't think I could have done much more this season, it is the coach's decision and you have to respect that."
"I'm sure he wants the best for the team and if he thinks that is the way to go you have to go with it, we are a team. It is between him and me. I have nothing against Antonio, he has done a fantastic job."
"Of course every player wants to play more, it is in the genes of a winner and I am one of them. I'm here for whatever the team needs and I have shown that during the season."
That last paragraph certainly sums up Cesc Fàbregas, who’s now entering the final two years of his contract. As per Chelsea policy, he’s not due a contract extension until next summer and even then, it would be just for one year. Unsurprisingly, the rumor mill has started to click into gear again, with the AC Milan rumors resurfacing recently, for example.
But the 30-year-old midfielder is not thinking about leaving after totaling just under 2000 minutes of playing time across 38 appearances in all competitions, while still managing to collect 12 assists (fourth-best in the Premier League) despite only starting 13 league games.
"[I did not think about leaving over playing time], but in football you can never say never. Anything can happen but I have always said I feel very, very loved by the fans here and every time I have played I have shown I can play at the top level in this team. It is all about trying to change the manager's decision."
"It is still a good season. We go home with a bad taste because of what has happened but for sure we would rather win the Premier League than the FA Cup."
-Cesc Fàbregas; source: Daily Mail
With two league titles under his belt as a Chelsea player, plus a League Cup, Fàbregas has proven an astute signing three years ago by Jose Mourinho. While his role has changed markedly this season, he is perhaps more effective now than he’s ever been for us, and should be able to continue playing in a similar role for several more seasons.