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CESC FABREGAS has admitted it was “tough” to leave Barcelona for Arsenal in 2003.
The Spain international arrived in north London 14 years ago having spent six seasons in the La Liga giants’ academy set-up.
He made his senior debut for the Gunners just a month later, starting a League Cup tie against Rotherham United at Highbury.
Fabregas went on to make a further 302 appearances for Arsenal and was handed the captaincy before returning to Barcelona in 2011.
Speaking to Gary Lineker for the BBC’s Premier League Show, Fabregas has revealed how the original move to England came about.
“Yes it was [a big decision],” Fabregas explained.
“I’d just turned 16, and you see Arsene Wenger there waiting for you, cutting his holiday [short] just to come to see you. For me it was a bit like: ‘What have I done?’
“They made an offer for me. Arsene was very clear he wanted me to train with the first-team, basically since day one.
“I’m not going to lie, it was tough, but a fantastic opportunity.
“At Barcelona it was so difficult. You had the likes of [Andres] Iniesta, who still didn’t even reach the first-team at the time and he was seen as the next big thing.