Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has denied making incendiary statements regarding the reasons behind his August exit from the club. The Spanish midfielder was quoted in Sport magazine as saying he forced a move from North London back to his boyhood club because he could not see them winning any major trophies in the coming years.
After the story was published, the 24-year-old responded via twitter:
@cesc4official: Id never speak 1 bad work abt AFC, here there’s once more prove that so many people put in newspaper wtv they want and its not professional.
Sport reported that the World Cup and European Championship winner said that Arsenal had lost ground against rivals Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City.
“We weren’t winning any titles and it was very frustrating for me. I didn’t feel like I was developing as I should be,” the player was quoted as saying. “I want to be in a club that is able to win the big titles year after year and I don’t see that kind of future for Arsenal. … I fear that they won’t be able to push the other big clubs in England away. I respect that Arsenal don’t have the same financial opportunities as the others, but it was part of my decision to leave that I find it hard to see Arsenal winning the Premier League or Champions League in the near future.”
Few players have been misquoted as often as Fabregas has. Reports about his desire to return to Barcelona emerged as early as 2009 and statements similar to the most recent ones have been attributed to him, only for him to issue denials or retractions.
In April, Spanish magazine Don Balon published an interview in which Fabregas expressed frustration at the club’s failure to earn any trophies since the 2005 FA Cup and questioned the club’s ambition.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was upset at the interview and both the manager and the midfielder denied making the statements. Days later, the magazine posted an audio file of the interview on their website, in which the player clearly made the disputed words.
Little was said about the issue after that point. Wenger promised that he would not listen to the clip and it is not known if he ever did. Fabregas never sued the magazine for damages.
Fabregas played his last game for Arsenal in an 2-1 loss at Bolton Wanderers on April 24 (the audio file was posted two days prior to that match). He then sat out much of Arsenal’s disastrous run-in to the end of the 2010-11season.
Wenger claimed that his balky hamstring was the reason behind his absence. Fabregas failed to join the club for Arsenal’s final game of the season at Fulham, instead attending the Spanish Grand Prix. The move drew the ire of supporters.
Over the summer, the club used the hamstring injury as an explanation for his absence from the club’s preseason action. After a protracted transfer saga, he joined Barcelona on Aug. 15 and made his debut two days later, helping his new club win the Spanish Super Cup over eternal rivals Real Madrid.
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