Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has announced his retirement from professional football.
The 36-year-old has had a glorious 20-year career, and he has now opted to call time on playing the game.
He spent the most recent campaign with Como 1907 in Serie B, and will now step into coaching with them.
The Spaniard will work with their Under-19 and B teams after deciding to hang up his football boots.
He confirmed his retirement earlier today, saying: “It is with great sadness that the time has come for me to hang up my playing boots.”
“From my first days at Barca, Arsenal, Barca again, Chelsea, Monaco and Como, I will treasure them all.
“From lifting the World Cup, the Euros, to winning everything in England and Spain and nearly all the European trophies, it has been a journey that I’ll never forget.
“All those who have helped me, my team-mates, coaches, directors, presidents, owners, fans and my agent.
“To all my family, from my parents and my sister to my wife and kids, I cherish your advice, mentorship and guidance. To my opponents who tried to knock me, thank you for making me stronger.
“It has already been more than worth it with all the great memories and friends that I have made on the way. I’ve also learnt three languages and became more compassionate and wiser along my travels.
“I lived experiences that I never thought in a million years I would even come close to. It’s not all sadness though as I’m now going to cross the white line and start coaching the B and Primavera teams of Como 1907.
“A club and a project I couldn’t be more excited about. This charming football team won my heart from the first minute and came to me at the perfect time in my career. I will grab it with both hands.
“So after 20 incredible years full of sacrifice, dedication and joy, it’s time to say thank you and goodbye to the beautiful game. I loved every minute. Cesc.”
Fabregas retires after an illustrious career
Fabregas graduated through the youth system at Barcelona, but it was at Arsenal where he made his senior debut.
The Spaniard started off his career in the Gunners’ invincibles season in 2003/04, though he did not play a single league game.
However, he made his breakthrough in the season which followed. At just 17, Fabregas became a mainstay in Arsenal’s midfield.
In 2008, Fabregas became the Gunners’ club-captain at just 21. He had his best-ever season in 2009/10 where he managed a stunning tally of 19 goals and 19 assists from just 36 appearances.
Just one campaign later, the midfielder decided to return to Barcelona, but he spent only three seasons with them before he made a shock return to the Premier League with rivals Chelsea.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger chose against re-signing Fabregas before he made the switch to Stamford Bridge, but the move spoilt his relationship with some of the fans that admired him.
Fabregas was pivotal towards Chelsea’s 2014/15 Premier League title with a stunning 19 assists, and went on to win another top-flight title in 2016/17, this time with a less significant role.
After his spell in west London, Fabregas chose to move to Monaco in 2019 before joining Como last summer. He has chosen the right time to step down, having been out of his prime for a while.
The once La Masia graduate should retire with pride, having won 17 major trophies in his illustrious career including the World Cup in 2010 where he provided the winning assist for Andres Iniesta.
Fabregas also won the Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 titles with La Roja. His only regret could be not lifting the Champions League title. He came close with Arsenal in 2006 before Barcelona’s late comeback.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com