Against The Odds: Episode 9 - Cesc Fabregas

Against The Odds: Episode 9 - Cesc Fabregas

CESC FABREGAS – "I THREW THE PIZZA BECAUSE I DIDN’T HAVE THE COURAGE TO GET IN THAT FIGHT" – NEW ITV DOC

The former Arsenal midfielder and World Cup winner reflects on his role in Pizzagate in a new ITV documentary:

I just went in quickly to the dressing room and there was some food there and I was starving so I just took a slice of pizza. We started hearing noises from the tunnel and I saw the players and Arsene, everyone in the tunnel. The first thing that occurred to me was just throw the pizza because I didn’t have the power or the courage to go into that fight because they were monsters in there. They were super big guys and apparently it hit Sir Alex Ferguson.

Cesc talks about his rise to the top in a new documentary, Against The Odds – Cesc Fabregas: Pass Master, which airs on ITV4 on August 7th at 9pm.

The show is part of the Against The Odds series, produced by ITV and funded by Coral, which has also featured jockeys Hollie Doyle and Johnny Murtagh, former darts world champion Gerwyn Price, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and England prop Kyle Sinckler telling their stories.

At 16 Cesc looked set for a long career at the Nou Camp until he made a decision that would change his life, choosing to swap Barcelona for Barnet as he sought seek his football fortune with Arsenal. He became the lynchpin of the Arsenal team, before returning home to Barcelona and then coming back to London for a trophy filled spell with Chelsea, not to mention being part of Spain's all conquering team that dominated international football.

The programme features contributions from former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, fellow team-mate and current Crystal Palace manager Patrick Viera, Spanish football pundit Guillem Balagué and the Daily Telegraph’s Matt Law.

Arsene Wenger hinted that as well as signing Fabregas, he could also have signed Messi and Pique for Arsenal in the documentary: “To be honest when signing Cesc, we also contacted Messi and Pique. Pique in the end decided to go to Man United, Fabregas decided to join us, and Barcelona kept Messi of course! That’s how it happened.

Cesc Fabregas spoke about his first wages at Arsenal and the time he spent with his landlady, Noreen, in Barnet:

I had £4,000 a month to spend. It was impossible for me to spend that amount. Give me £500 a month – that’s enough! Being in that small room in Noreen’s place was a privilege.

He also spoke about celebrating his debut for Arsenal: “I went home and Noreen was sleeping and I had a Kinder Bueno and a Coke.

On the advice he was given by Francis Cagigao in his first training session he said: “Francis said listen you don’t speak English, so be smart. If you want the ball just say “Yes”. I said alright, thanks very much. So every time we started to do possession or games or little drills I just started shouting yes, yes, yes. I think they thought I was crazy. Later Francis came to me and said when you were shouting yes like a madman, Arsene came to me and said what did you guys give this boy for breakfast. I was so enthusiastic about the situation that I wanted to show everyone what I could do.

On replacing Patrick Viera in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield he said:

The day Patrick left was a very sad one but a very important one for my career. Arsene called me into a room before training and said to me, what do you think if I tell you I’m selling Patrick? I feel you are ready and he’s blocking you and you are ready to fly. I took it with a lot of emotion. I thought Patrick was going to hate me. He was my idol because I learnt so much from him. If he’s going to hit me, he’s going to hit me hard! He was happy, he told me I could take the number four shirt.

Arsene Wenger also speculates on taking Fabregas off the pitch during the 2006 Champions League Final against Barcelona he said:

I wonder sometimes should I have taken him off in the last ten minutes because we were a bit hanging on. We were already disappointed and Cesc was maybe a bit more disappointed than others. Unfortunately that’s certainly his biggest regret as well.

In the Spain v Italy quarter final Fabregas said of his penalty:

It was the first penalty I had to take as a professional. I kept that as a secret just in case they regretted it and changed their mind! I talked to the ball and said please don’t let me down."

On setting up the match-winning goal in the 2010 World Cup Final game against the Netherlands he said:

I had this feeling that (Rafael) van der Vaart he was going to miskick it for whatever reason and I just tried to make a simple pass forward for Andrees Iniesta, who scored the most important goal in Spain’s history.

On making the decision to leave Arsenal:

This was a moment that hurt a lot for myself. I did feel in the last two years that we weren’t growing as a team and making the best out of it. You are tempted by other big clubs or good clubs when you meet up with the national team. From the bottom of my heart it was one of the most difficult moments I had to face. I cried the day Arsene told me ok Cesc don’t worry in the next few days it will be done.

On first encountering Messi as a 14 year old:

I remember very clearly because he sat down next to me. He was very, very small, very, very shy and we remember looking at each other. I asked my teammates who this was and they said a boy on trial from Argentina . He didn’t seem like he was our age at all. He just went out to training and we were doing this exercise of one on one and I had to face Leo. When he faced me I thought this would be easier than it actually was. He left me on the floor. He did the typical Leo thing, where he pretends to go to the right and he goes to the left. I realized I should take this boy very seriously.

On the rift between him and Pep Guardiola he was curt: “I haven’t been in touch with Pep since he quit. We respected each other, we shook hands.

WATCH TONIGHT ON ITV4 OR ON THE ITV HUB

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