Cesc Fabregas has today completed a permanent transfer to Monaco.
The midfielder’s switch to the Ligue 1 club brings the curtain down on his four-and-a-half year Chelsea career, a period in which he won four major trophies, including two Premier League titles.
The Spaniard made 198 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 22 goals.
We thank Cesc for his wonderful service and wish him the very best of luck for the next chapter in what has been a fantastic career.
Farewell to a champion
Two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup. Every major domestic honour ticked off.
An impressive medal haul for any player.
Fabregas arrived at Stamford Bridge as a European Championship and World Cup-winner with Spain, and at club level the midfielder enjoyed a fruitful period in terms of securing major trophies here at Chelsea, having played an integral role in each of those triumphs.
Possessing a superb range of passing, an eye for goal and the ability to use the ball well under pressure, it comes as no surprise that Fabregas has been such a key figure in the Chelsea midfield over the last four-and-a-half years.
He also deserves great credit for his versatility. Over the course of his time at the club, Fabregas played as a deep-lying midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, as part of a pair in a 3-4-3, further forward in the ‘number 10’ role and, most recently, as the playmaker in a 4-3-3, with his footballing intelligence allowing him to adapt to whatever role he has been asked to fulfil.
The midfielder departs England with the second-highest number of assists in Premier League history, 111, after recently making his 350th appearance in the competition during our game against Southampton, and he was also the fastest player to reach 100 Premier League assists, achieving the feat in just 293 matches.
Fabregas signed in the summer of 2014 as Jose Mourinho sought to add a creative presence in midfield following the departure of club legend Frank Lampard at the end of the previous season.
Supporters wouldn’t have to wait long to witness his ability to open up opposition defences and provide goalscoring opportunities for his team-mates as Fabregas enjoyed a debut to remember in our opening game of the 2014/15 season at Burnley.
Operating in a deep midfield role, he dictated the tempo of the game throughout and provided the outstanding moment of quality when he laid on our second goal for Andre Schurrle with an exquisite first-time pass. He then supplied the corner from which Branislav Ivanovic made it 3-1 and deservedly walked away with the Man of the Match award. Two assists in one game. It was a sign of things to come.
Fabregas had hit the ground running and the assists continued to arrive early in the campaign, with Diego Costa in particular benefiting from his outstanding ability to pick – and execute – a pass, before he netted his first goal for the club in a Champions League game against Schalke at the Bridge.
Mourinho deployed Fabregas alongside Nemanja Matic in a 4-2-3-1 formation and the Blues remained without a defeat in the Premier League until early December, topping the table at Christmas. One of the victories included in that unbeaten sequence came at Crystal Palace when Fabregas finished off a superb passing move to score his first Premier League goal for the club.
By the March, Fabregas had won his first trophy as a Chelsea player. Tottenham were beaten 2-0 at Wembley in the League Cup final and it was the Spaniard who provided the pass from which Diego Costa scored our second goal.
His experience and calmness under pressure was pivotal as we closed in on the title and Fabregas scored our most important goal of the campaign, an 88th-minute winner away at QPR in April, to send us seven points clear at the top of the table.
Victories in three of our next four matches ensured we were crowned champions and Fabregas, who provided 24 assists over the course of the Premier League campaign, was an English top-flight title-winner for the first time in his career.
Outstanding technical ability
What marked him out as such a talented player during his time at the club was the fact he refused to take the easy option in possession. On receiving the ball, his first thought was always to try and open up the opposition defence, and he did it so well on countless occasions.
Think of Fabregas’ most memorable assists and immediately there are a few which spring to mind: The first-time half-volley on his debut against Burnley, the ball from deep which allowed Diego Costa to lob Wojciech Szczesny against Arsenal, the stunning incisive clip in behind the Watford defence from which the striker netted the winner against the Hornets. The list is endless.
His relationship with Diego Costa was a pivotal factor in the success the team enjoyed when the duo played together, while Fabregas’ mental sharpness ensured he enjoyed a fantastic on-pitch understanding with the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro, a former team-mate of his with Spain and Barcelona.
Fabregas’ second season at the club was one of collective frustration but the Spaniard was our joint-highest appearance maker, and among the six goals he scored were a late equaliser away at Southampton and a superb free-kick against West Ham in a 2-2 draw at the Bridge.
Perhaps the biggest test of his time at the club was when Antonio Conte took charge in 2016 and switched to a 3-4-3 system early in the season, with Matic and N’Golo Kante, an arrival from Leicester that summer, preferred as the midfield pairing.
Fabregas was used predominantly off the bench early in the campaign although his influence on the team remained. In our first away game of the season, he teed up Diego Costa to score the decisive goal at Watford with an exceptional ball in behind the home side’s defence, and the Spaniard himself netted an extra-time brace as we came from behind to beat Leicester in the League Cup.
As the season progressed, Fabregas’ involvement increased, and December was a particularly positive month. With Matic injured, he was handed a rare league start for the trip to Manchester City and impressed, laying on our equaliser for Diego Costa in a 3-1 win with a pinpoint ball which the forward controlled and brought down before firing home.
Eleven days later Fabregas showcased his wonderful technical ability with a fine curling finish from outside the box against Sunderland, the only goal of the game, and he provided two more assists as we won a 13th consecutive league game against Stoke City.
In February, he put the seal on an important win against former club Arsenal with a deft lob over the head of Petr Cech, and Fabregas was outstanding in the 3-1 victory over Swansea, opening the scoring with a well-taken finish before recording his 102nd assist for Pedro on what was his 300th Premier League appearance.
As the Blues closed in on the title Fabregas started more frequently, including in a huge 2-1 win over Man City at the Bridge, while becoming the first player to register 10 assists in six different Premier League seasons as we beat Middlesbrough.
His second Premier League title was secured in our next game, away at West Bromwich Albion, with Fabregas completing the full match, and we were only denied what would have been the second Double in the club’s history after losing 2-1 to Arsenal in the FA Cup final, when Fabregas was introduced as a second-half substitute.
FA Cup success
Fabregas made his 100th appearance for the club in last season’s 1-0 league win over Manchester United and, after scoring a brilliant winner against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium [video below], it was his pass which set Hazard free before he was scythed down by Phil Jones in the FA Cup final. The Belgian, of course, converted the resulting spot-kick to ensure Fabregas had won every major domestic honour during his time as a Chelsea player.
With midfielder Jorginho following Maurizio Sarri, his former manager at Napoli, to Stamford Bridge ahead of the current campaign, opportunities for Fabregas in the Premier League have been limited. He featured heavily in both the Europa League, when he captained the club for the first time in a competitive match against MOL Vidi, and League Cup, his goal proving decisive as we overcame Derby County in the fourth round.
In a game against Liverpool in that competition earlier this season Fabregas produced a passing masterclass. The home side couldn’t get near him in the first half and, given time on the ball, he was able to play it long, short, right and left at will. One particular ball, hit first-time over his shoulder to the feet of Cesar Azpilicueta from the edge of our own penalty area, was a moment of pure quality.
Fabregas made his 350th Premier League appearance when he came off the bench in our recent draw against Southampton, and his final game in a blue shirt followed against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup last weekend, when he was given the send-off his performances for the club have merited after the final whistle had sounded.
There is no doubt Fabregas’s place in the Chelsea history books is assured given his achievements over the past four-and-a-half seasons.
Big goals and outstanding moments of quality, all backed up by the ultimate aim, which is to be part of a successful, trophy-winning team.
Fabregas, who scored 22 goals for the club in total, departs having helped the club achieve great success, as well as providing our supporters with some wonderful memories.
He leaves with the very best wishes of everybody at Chelsea Football Club.