Francesc "Cesc" Fàbregas i Soler born 4 May 1987 is a Spanish footballer who plays as a central midfielder. He captains Premier League side Arsenal and also plays for the Spanish national team.

Fàbregas started his career as a trainee with FC Barcelona but was signed by Arsenal in September 2003 at the age of 16. Following injuries to key midfielders in the 2004–05 season, he established himself as Arsenal's starting central midfielder and playmaker. He went on to break several of the club's records, earning a reputation as one of the best young players for his position.

In international football, the Spaniard's national career began when he represented the Under-17 side at the 2003 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland. As a result of his club performances, he was called up to the senior squad in 2006. He has played in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2008 and 2010 FIFA World Cup, helping Spain to become eventual winners in the two most recent tournaments.

Style of play

Originally brought to Arsenal as a youth to slowly develop via the League Cup, Fàbregas was unexpectedly deployed as Arsenal's starting central midfielder following injuries to fellow midfielders Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva and Edu during the 2004–05 season. Fàbregas functions mostly as a playmaker and his main asset is his passing range. Having been one of the most coveted and celebrated young talents in the game since he became an Arsenal regular, he has been described as being the kernel of Arsenal's first team, bringing vision, creativity, and an innate understanding of timing and space to Arsenal's intricate passing game, displaying maturity that belies his age. He often assumes responsibility for set pieces, taking corners, free kicks and penalties.

Fàbregas has stated in interviews that while Vieira served as his role model and mentor, he styles his game after his childhood hero and compatriot Josep Guardiola. In that sense he is of a different mould from his Arsenal predecessors who play in the same position, preferring skill over strength. Initially, this led to criticisms of his lightweight frame and less aggressive style of play,with former teammate Ashley Cole criticising the Spaniard as "an unproven featherweight" in his autobiography.

However, Fàbregas' statistics have improved over the seasons, and he has adopted a more aggressive style of play. His importance to the team as the main creative force was perhaps first reflected in his contributing 16 assists in all competitions in the 2006–07 season.By his own admission, scoring was a weaker part of his game in his first few seasons at Arsenal; wasteful finishing also being symptomatic of the larger problem surrounding Arsenal in the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons.This changed initially in the 2007–08 season when he scored 11 goals in his first 16 games, and Arsenal manager Wenger claimed that the Spaniard's previous inability to score was down to a mental state, and even compared the Spaniard to Michel Platini, a French midfielder renowned for scoring. There were also concerns raised over the large number of games Fàbregas has played for club and country in the last few seasons, but he has largely avoided long spells on the sidelines.

Personal information
Full name: Francesc Fàbregas i Soler
Date of birth: 4 May 1987 (1987-05-04)
Place of birth: Vilassar de Mar, Spain
Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position: Midfielder

Club information

Current club: Arsenal
Number: 4

Youth career
000?–1997 Mataró
1997–2003 Barcelona
2003 Arsenal

Senior career*
2003– Arsenal 207 (35)

National team‡
2002–2003 Spain U16 8 (1)
2003–2004 Spain U17 14 (7)
2005 Spain U20 5 (0)
2004–2005 Spain U21 11 (2)
2006– Spain 58 (6)
2004– Catalonia 1 (0)
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