Cesc Fabregas was so determined to live out his childhood dream that he gave up money to make it happen.
The Spanish star left Arsenal for Barcelona in August 2011, and he took a pay cut to seal the blockbuster transfer, according to ESPN.
"It was a dream of mine to play for Barca, but I was not bitter at Arsenal," Fabregas said. "On the contrary, I was living somewhere which, for me, was the most beautiful city in the world, I was in an incredible team with a superb coach and supporters I adored.
"It was not a question of life or death. If Barca had not come in for me, I would have played my whole career at Arsenal. That was certain."
"Yes, there are teams who pay better," he said. "But it was always clear to me. Either go to Barca or stay at Arsenal. The last thing on my mind was money and I have come to Barca, and I earn less."
Fabregas' revelations reveal the lengths to which he was willing to go in order to return to Barcelona. It took over 12 months for Fabregas' dream transfer to become a reality, but it happened in the end.
Born into a family of Barca supporters, Fabregas became a fan of the club when he was a toddler. Later, he was schooled at Barca's prestigious academy, but left for Arsenal in 2003.
The playmaking midfielder was just 16 years old at the time, but he grew as a player under the watchful eye of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. He broke into the Arsenal first team, developed into a key player and eventually assumed the captain's role during his eight years in London.
But watching Barcelona win numerous trophies (with good friends Lionel Messi and Gerrard Pique playing important parts) wore on Fabregas, and he pushed for a move during the 2010-11 season. He finally got his wish in August 2011, when he switched clubs in a £35 million ($55.3 million) transfer.
Now 27, Fabregas has continued to flourish on the domestic and international stage. He won four trophies in his first season as a Barcelona player and topped it off by helping Spain win Euro 2012. The financial sacrifice he made in order to return to Barcelona pales in comparison to the rewards he has already received and those that have yet to come.
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Photo via Twitter/@BlowingAwayPC