Fabregas: I face the challenge of my life at Barca
Published 13:26 15/08/11 By MirrorFootball
Cesc Fabregas today spoke of facing the challenge of his life after completing his move from Arsenal to Barcelona.
Fabregas signed a five-year contract with Barca after passing his medical with the European champions this morning.
The switch ends an eight year association with Arsenal, who Fabregas joined from Barca as a 16-year-old, and ends one of football's longest-running transfer sagas.
After penning his contract with the Catalan club Fabregas, wearing the number four shirt, was presented to the Barca fans at the Nou Camp.
He was quoted as saying by the Spanish media: "For me it's a special day. I'm returning home. I know that the Arsenal fans will be disappointed with my exit from the club, but I'm here to face an incredible challenge, the challenge of my life."
Fabregas joins a Barca side that have won 10 trophies since Pep Guardiola took charge in 2008, including three successive Primera Liga crowns and two Champions Leagues. Fabregas praised Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
"I'll never have enough words to thank him for all he's done for me," he said. "I'll never forget him.
"I don't think he has such a good image here, he has been portrayed as something he's not, in my opinion. If today I am here with you then it's greatly due to him.
"I can't express my admiration for him strongly enough, I owe it to him that I am here."
Fabregas added: "To get the number four shirt is very special. I know there has been a debate about whether Thiago (Alcantara) should have it but I'm very pleased to be able to wear the number four."
Fabregas said of his Arsenal career: "It's been a terrific experience.
"I come here with great humility because I know I have a lot to learn and I can learn a lot from this coach and this great team. I've played with two of them (Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique) since I was 13 and many of the others since I was 18 (with Spain) so I know them very well.
"I know I can enjoy it and make a contribution. I'm going to try very hard to make this team even more competitive and strong."
Fabregas insists he is ready to play the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup clash with Real Madrid on Wednesday if called upon following last night's 2-2 first-leg draw in the capital.
"I didn't see the first leg last night as I was flying over," he said. "But physically I'm fine and ready for everything. It's not my decision whether to play or not. I'm going to work very hard as always and enjoy it. I will give everything to make this club better."
The transfer had looked to be coming to an end on Friday with suggestions that confirmation of a deal to take Fabregas back to Barca was imminent.
Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes said in a press conference that he believed the transfer was close to being finalised, while his team-mates Carles Puyol and Pique both sent Fabregas messages on Twitter to welcome their Spain colleague, who left Barca for Arsenal as a 16-year-old, back to the Nou Camp.
However, it was not until last night that the an agreement between the two clubs was made official.
Fabregas said: "They have been three or four intense days and I've tried to keep away from it all as much as possible. Until I had permission from Arsenal to travel I was not going to do it. In the end it has all been worth it."
Fabregas has long been linked with a return to Barca, but rival Spanish giants Real Madrid were also reportedly interested in the World Cup winner.
On that subject, Fabregas said: "Today I've signed for Barca and I don't think its worth talking about that."
The locally-born midfielder added: "I'm not coming here to be with my family. I'm coming here to work hard and win myself a place in the Barca team."