Cesc Fabregas has revealed his disappointment at his performance in El Clásico’s latest fixture and admitted he still needs to adapt to the unique playing style of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.
The Spain midfielder emerged from the Catalan giants’ youth ranks before making his professional debut for Arsenal as a 16-year-old in 2003. Since returning to Camp Nou from the Emirates last summer, Fabregas has impressed, scoring nine goals in 14 games in La Liga. However, he failed to find his rhythm in a 2-2 draw at home to Real Madrid on Wednesday.
"I'm not happy with my own performance against Madrid,” rued Fabregas. “I have a lot to improve upon. Although I was brought up to play football the Barça way, this is the coach’s system and it's not easy to adapt to it straight away.
"When I play further forward, I have more mobility, and that's a role I can handle. But when I play further back, I need to have more discipline and I currently miss the patience for that.”
Continental glory the principal goal
Fabregas attributed his decision to return to Catalonia to his desire to win trophies. During his time at Arsenal, he only managed to get his hands on the FA Cup, courtesy of a penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium in 2005, while he was part of the team that lost 2-1 to his current club in the UEFA Champions League final in 2006.
The 24-year-old has already got his hands on silverware three times in the Blaugrana jersey. Fabregas helped Barcelona overcome Real to lift the Spanish Super Cup, sealed a 2-0 defeat of Porto in the UEFA Super Cup, and was again on target in a 4-0 rout of Santos in last month’s FIFA Club World Cup.
Guardiola’s team are currently second in La Liga, five points behind Real Madrid, and face Valencia in the Copa del Rey semi-finals and Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16 of the Champions League.
"I dream of winning all three [competitions],” Fabregas said recently. “But if I have to choose one it would be the Champions League. That’s the one I’ve been longing to win for a long time. The Champions League gives me a special feeling and is valued the most by the majority of the players."
Click this Classic Players link to read about the superb careers of former Barcelona players Johan Cruyff, Sandor Kocsis, Michael Laudrup, Romario & Ricardo Zamora.