Fabregas reveals Iniesta role in him joining Arsenal

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has spoken about Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta inadvertently helped him to leave the club for Arsenal at the tender age of 16 back in 2003.

The former Gunners playmaker was part of the Catalan giants famed youth academy and it is while playing for them that he came to the attention of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

Fabregas made the big decision to leave for London and quickly established himself as the creative hub of the side. He became the first-team captain at just 21.

In an interview with BBC Sport, the Spaniard spoke about why he chose to move to Arsenal.

“It was (a big decision). I had just turned 16,” said Fabregas.

“Then you see Arsene Wenger there waiting for you, cutting his holiday, just to come and see you.”

Fabregas would spend eight seasons with the North London club, accruing 212 appearances and scoring 36 goals.

Ironically, he would leave Arsenal to return to Barcelona in 2011. He became a first-team regular and commented that the main difference between then and before was that he came back as an established player and not a teenager.

“At Barcelona it was so difficult. You had the likes of Iniesta who still did not even reach the first team at the time and he was seen as the next big thing.

“I had to make a decision and I did it.”

The 30-year-old would then go back to London again, this time in the shape of Chelsea.

After an up-and-down first three seasons with the Premier League champions, he has finally established himself as an integral part of the first-team and has been an ever-present.

Chelsea have a massive game coming up on Sunday at home to fellow title challengers Manchester United. Both teams need the win to keep pace with league leaders Manchester City.