Our former midfielder Cesc Fabregas has looked back on some of the highlights of his distinguished career, with one tale at Chelsea involving Diego Costa sticking in his memory.
Fabregas was speaking on Match of the Day’s top 10 podcast alongside Gary Lineker and Jermaine Jenas, and alongside detailing the best goal, moment and player he has experienced during a 17-year long career that continues now at Monaco, the Spaniard was asked what has been the funniest incident so far.
He cast his mind back to December 2016, and a Chelsea fixture against West Bromwich Albion in the midst of our club record 13-game winning run. Antonio Conte and Diego Costa are the main protagonists.
‘When Conte first came to Chelsea I didn't really play the first three months,’ recalled Fabregas.
‘He made it clear he wanted a different type of midfielder. Nemanja Matic was playing, I had an injury as well and I didn't really play the whole season.
‘But we went to Manchester City, we had won seven games and Conte says to me: 'You have to play.' We won 3-1, I played well and gave the assist to Costa for 1-1. It felt like I had made a point to the coach that he could count on me.
‘But next we played West Brom, Matic recovers and he starts. It was a typical game and for 70 minutes it was 0-0. They were defending well. The game was calling for someone like me to come on to open the door or do something but the minutes went by and nothing. I remember Costa coming to the touchline and shouting at Conte, saying: 'Put Cesc on!'
‘Conte is not the manager you mess with this and he was pretending not to listen to Costa. Two minutes later he says 'Cesc come', and two minutes after I come on I provided the assist for Costa to score.’
In a lengthy and open interview, Fabregas is also asked to choose the best manager he has played under, and while admitting it is an incredibly tough decision, he leans towards his first Chelsea boss.
‘I played under some of the best managers - not just in recent times but in history.
‘If I have to pick one or two: Pep Guardiola played the game in the style I love at Barcelona, same with Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, but under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea I had a really special year. He is probably the one I had the best connection with. The way he played with my mind was unbelievable.
‘I would pick Guardiola, Mourinho and Wenger because I owe them all so much.’