Statistics and trophies give you some notion of this impact Cesc Fabregas is made in English football, but he should be remembered as a pioneer in addition to an assist machine after leaving Chelsea to get Monaco.
Whenever I faced Cesc, even when he was merely a teenager, I saw him as a Barcelona player within the Premier League.
We are more accustomed to seeing that type of midfielder in England today, with the kind of David Silva and Bernardo Silva in Manchester City, but when he came in Barca’s academy, Cesc was the initial of his own kind.
What the Silvas are doing today – covering a lot of ground and building things happen – Fabregas was doing 15 decades back at a 442 formation for Arsenal… and he made it work.
Until he broke into the Arsenal team in 2003 as a 16-year-old, when you played the Gunners there were giants all over the pitch. Unexpectedly you’d little Fabregas there as an alternative.
You would look at him and think”what exactly is going to carry on here”
As a teenager, he really needed a enormous variety of death – I found that came after when he was not able to run as much with the chunk.
But back when he was with the Gunners, he was in a position to dribble nicely and drive through midfield to make things happen, and he was always so fit as perfectly – a lot fitter than people gave him credit for.
I had some good battles with him over the years while I was at Newcastle and at north London derbies with Tottenham, and that I was just always along the pitch, requiring the ball always driving his team forwards.
‘He moaned a good deal – he was irritating on the pitch’
Last summer the World Cup, when we were both pundits to the BBC at Russia, was the very first chance I had to really sit back and have a conversation with Cesc.
I never knew him well when I played against him , I am not going to lie, so ” he was a bit annoying on the pitch.
Much like a lot of this Arsenal team of that moment, he was a moaner – and Cesc did moan a lot. In the event you handled him, or someone else, then he was always the first one to get at the swimmer’s ear about it.
He contributed to the only real sending-off I had within my own career, at a significant way.
From the opening game of the 2005-06 year, I was looking for Newcastle at Highbury and proceeded for a handle with Gilberto Silva.
It was not really a terrific challenge, but it was not really a red card. It got rescinded less than twenty four hours later, so it certainly was not so bad.
But Cesc was straight into the face of referee Steve Bennett. I ended up having an argument with Fabregas about it, saying”come on I’ve hardly touched him” but he had done his position.
I walked, we were down to ten men after half an hour and Arsenal won 2-0.
‘Gaining an advantage for your team is that which clever players do’
Cesc’s most important attribute was his ability to dictate the pace of this game, and the flow of the game.
Right from the start he could orchestrate a lot of the. There’s a lot to admire about him, but in addition, you have to remember he came up to play with at the Premier League at such a youthful age, and didn’t not just adjust to it he flourished here.
He wasn’t the most significant tackler but even as a teenager he thought he was the king on the pitch and that was the aura he always possessed when you went him up.
I think it is strange that he won the main Player of the season award – he was PFA Young Player aged 20 at 200708 – but I still think his time was somewhat out with Arsenal.
If he had come through a couple years earlier, he would have had a much greater side but, as he emerged, that the’Invincibles’ team that won the title in 2004 was just beginning to divide.
Instead he was part of Wenger’s rebuilding method, which demonstrably had its ups and downs, before he made to return to Barcelona at 2011.
‘He’s selected a good time to depart the Premier-league’
Because Cesc failed to acquire many individual awards, there is always the issue of whether he has enough appreciation in this country for what he has achieved, but I still think he does.
I’d expect that the Arsenal supporters still love him despite the fact that he left Barca – nobody could blame him for that – plus it was Wenger who chose never to use his option to buy him backagain.
But even if he fails to receive the charge from English fans – I think he does by the way – then he 100 percent receives it out of the players.
The men and women who played with and against him have got a lot of respect for what he has been doing in this league, year in, year out, and he will go down as one of those greats.
Jermaine Jenas was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.