Cesc Fabregas Biography

Date of Birth: 04/05/1987
Clubs: Barcelona, Arsenal
International: Spain
Honours: Euro 2008 Champion

Francesc "Cesc" Fàbregas Soler was born on 4 May 1987 in Arenys de Mar, Barcelona. He is a central midfielder for Arsenal in the English Premier League and for the Spanish national team.

It was at FC Barcelona where Fàbregas began his club football career. Initially, he was played mostly as a volante (defensive midfielder), yet he was also a prolific scorer, sometimes scoring more than 30 goals in a season. However, he did not play a first-team game at the Camp Nou. Sensing that he would have limited opportunities at Barcelona, he decided to join Arsenal, signing for the London club on 11 September 2003.

Initially, he found life difficult in England's capital but soon struck a friendship with team-mate Philippe Senderos, who helped him settle down. As a 16-year-old, Fàbregas did not even think about breaking into the first team but looked up to his seniors Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, while concentrating on training and learning the English language. He made his début not long after, on 23 October 2003, in a League Cup tie at home to Rotherham United.

After the departure of Vieira to Juventus, Fàbregas featured regularly in the Arsenal central midfield alongside Gilberto Silva. Despite his young age, his performances came under greater scrutiny due to his increased involvement in the first team. Further, as Fàbregas possessed a smaller frame and played with less aggression than Vieira, there were initially doubts over his ability to fill in the void left by the Frenchman.

On 15 May 2006, Fàbregas was selected for the Spanish 2006 World Cup squad. During the tournament, he came on as a second-half substitute in Spain's first two group matches, contributing an assist in their 3–1 victory against Tunisia. He then started alongside Spain's reserve players in Spain's third group match against Saudi Arabia. He earned a starting role in Spain's first knockout-stage match against France, in place of Marcos Senna, but Spain lost 3–1.

In Euro 2008, despite featuring mostly as a substitute, the midfielder made a considerable impact in Spain's campaign. He scored his first international goal in that competition in Spain's 4–1 win over Russia. Spain won all three of their group games and met Italy in the quarter-finals. In that match, Fàbregas scored the winning penalty after the teams remained deadlocked 0–0 after extra time.

In the semi-finals, Spain defeated Russia 3–0 with Fàbregas providing two assists. Fàbregas was in the starting eleven in the final against Germany which Spain prevailed 1–0; this was Spain's first major title since 1964. For his efforts, Fàbregas was named in the Team of the Tournament, a 23-man squad selected by the UEFA Technical Team.