After a glistening career with 848 appearances, 140 goals and 15 trophies won, Cesc Fabregas has called it quits on his footballing career and announced his retirement.
Back in 2019, the former Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona and Spain midfielder named his greatest ever team-mates XI, which was stacked with talent.
The team was as follows: Iker Casillas, Dani Alves, John Terry, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Eden Hazard, Patrick Vieira, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Diego Costa.
Naturally, that’s an absolutely outstanding XI. But there are some incredible players that missed out. We’ve put together a full XI of players that played alongside Fabregas but didn’t make the cut.
GK: Thibaut Courtois
The Belgian goalkeeper was handed his Chelsea debut by Jose Mourinho in June 2014 against Burnley. Coincidentally, Fabregas also made his Chelsea debut on this occasion and provided one of the best assists in Premier League history.
Both Courtois and Fabregas went on to win two Premier League titles with Chelsea and shared some great moments alongside each other.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 14, 2019
RB: Branislav Ivanovic
Undoubtedly one of the best right-backs of the Premier League era, Ivanovic was a rock at the back for Chelsea. The Serbian defender racked up over 370 appearances at Stamford Bridge and won pretty much everything on offer.
Fabregas spent three seasons playing alongside Ivanovic, in which time they won three trophies together, including two Premier League titles.
CB: Carles Puyol
By the time Fabregas had arrived in Barcelona in 2011, Puyol was in the twilight of his career. Although his defensive nouse and elite mentality still shone through as the pair won six trophies at club level alongside each other.
It was on the international stage that Fabregas got to see the best of Puyol as they spent eight years from 2006-2013 playing alongside each other during Spain’s Golden Generation.
CB: Sergio Ramos
Arguably the best defender of his generation, Ramos was a notable omission from Fabregas’ team-mate XI. While they never played alongside each other at club level, the pair won it all on the international stage.
They did have some beef back in the day, which is perhaps why Fabregas overlooked the former Real Madrid man in his XI. Ramos aimed a jibe at Fabregas in the media after the midfielder pulled out of international duty in 2014 due to a knock.
Fabregas promptly responded by calling Ramos out on a late-night Spanish radio show: “I told Ramos at the time that if he has something to say to me then he should pick up the phone and call and not send messages via the media.”
LB: Ashley Cole
In many ways, Cole and Fabregas followed a fairly similar career path. After each starting out with Arsenal, they eventually found themselves donning the blue of Chelsea. Albeit, Cole’s direct switch to Stamford Bridge was more controversial.
Cole did leave Chelsea the summer that Fabregas arrived, but the pair did have some great moments together at Arsenal. Their highlight together was the 2004–05 FA Cup triumph against Manchester United, where they both started.
CM: Sergio Busquets
Perhaps the greatest holding midfielder of his generation, players like Busquets allowed creative types like Fabregas to thrive. Busquets himself was personally pushing for Fabregas to sign for Barcelona following the 2010 World Cup and he eventually got his wish.
🙌 Cesc Fàbregas to Sergio Busquets: pic.twitter.com/XRJDOsQUGI
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 31, 2023
At the time of Fabregas signing for Barcelona, there was some talk over him being the long-term successor to Xavi at Camp Nou. Although in the end, that didn’t quite materialise and Fabregas instead played in a more advanced role for the Spanish club.
“Looking back, I probably should have waited a little longer (to sign for Barcelona), until Xavi shut down a bit, and then go there to take his place,” Fabregas told Kammy and Ben’s Proper Football Podcast. “However, the frustration of so many years without winning at Arsenal overwhelmed me, and I decided to leave.”
CM: David Silva
Perhaps the two greatest ever Spanish players to have played in the Premier League, there wasn’t much that these two couldn’t conjure up with their feet.
It’s a shame they never got the chance to play together at club level as they had such a natural bond on the international stage. We could watch the two of them play all night long.
⚽ ¡Marca España! ¡David Silva adelanta a 'La Roja' tras una preciosa jugada con Iniesta y Fàbregas!
— UEFA.com en español (@UEFAcom_es) June 5, 2020
LW: David Villa
One of the most natural goalscorers of the 21st Century, Villa could score all types of goals. The Barcelona frontman played his role in getting Fabregas to join him at Camp Nou as he urged him to sign after the success they had for Spain.
At club level, they spent two seasons together and won five trophies alongside one another. Fabregas produced an impressive 50 assists throughout his Barcelona career, with Villa getting on the end of plenty of them.
ST: Robin van Persie
The Dutch forward has to rank among the best-ever strikers to have played with Fabregas. While they never won a wealth of trophies together, they combined for so many moments of magic.
Having a magician like Fabregas pulling the strings for Van Persie was like a cheat code. They made it look all too easy.
Robin Van Persie goal vs Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates, EPL 2009/10
Midfield of Alex Song, Abou Diaby & Cesc Fabregas😶
Fabregas absolutely pulling the strings this game!
RVP loved playing Blackburn. It was OVER as soon as Cesc slipped him in on that angle
Ruthless finish pic.twitter.com/HvOrwStqPL
— Phantomn AFC (@PhantomnAFC) March 13, 2020
RW: Dennis Bergkamp
“If you don’t think Bergkamp was that good, then you don’t understand this sport at all,” Fabregas tweeted in 2019 in response to talkSPORT host Adrian Durham questioning his ability.
There can be little debate that the Dutch forward was one of the most technically gifted players to have played alongside Fabregas, the pair were a joy to watch together.