English football has seemingly just waved goodbye to one of the most talented playmakers of the Premier League era.
Cesc Fabregas bid an emotional goodbye to all four corners of Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening after what is widely expected to be his last appearance for Chelsea.
Although the 31-year-old’s career is not actually coming to an end as he looks set to link up with former Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry, it does seem safe to say that his time plying his trade in England or the top level for that matter is over.
Here are 10 of the best pictures that show the evolution of Fabregas’ superb career.
Fabregas joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old from Barcelona’s famed La Masia Academy.
He then became the Gunners youngest ever player when he made his debut against Rotherham in the FA Cup in 2003, aged 16 .years and 177 days.
It soon became apparent that the boy form Barcelona was a bit special as he began to mix it with the best the Premier League had to offer.
Fabregas became Arsenal captain and established himself as one of England’s top midfielders, although his only success with the Gunners would be the 2005 FA Cup.
The first major success of his 110 cap international career with Spain came in 2008 when La Roja won the Euros, a feat they would match again in 2012.
Fabregas won the biggest of all trophies in 2010 when Spain won the World Cup.
His success at international level began to see him heavily linked with a return to childhood side Barcelona, where he would link up with childhood friend Lionel Messi and win La Liga.
However, London soon came calling again in 2014 and he returned to link up with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and duly won his first Premier League title.
In 2016/17 he won his second top-flight crown under Antonio Conte.
On Saturday Fabregas received a fitting tribute as he exited the pitch during Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest. He will go down in history as one of the greatest midfielders to ever grace the Premier League.