Barcelona midfielder reveals Arsenal admiration

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Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas says he would have happily seen out his career in north London, had his boyhood club Barcelona not wanted to sign him.

The 25-year-old midfielder came through the ranks at La Masia, before being picked up by Arsene Wenger at the age of 16 in 2003.

After spending eight years in England, he returned to Spain last summer, leaving the Emirates Stadium for an initial fee of €29million - with a further €5million in variables.

In a recent interview, Fabregas admitted that he is now fulfilling a lifelong dream being back at the Camp Nou, but added that he still holds great affection for the Gunners.

"It was a dream for me to play for Barcelona, but I was not bitter about Arsenal," he is quoted by Foot Mercato. "On the contrary, I lived in the most beautiful city in the world, I was in an incredible team with a great coach and the fans loved me."

"It was not a matter of life or death. If Barca had not come, I would have spent my entire career at Arsenal. That is certain."

Arsenal fans were left disappointed by the loss of their influential skipper that summer, and ended up in even more shock, when history repeated itself the following year, as Robin van Persie - handed the armband in the aftermath of Fabregas' departure - made the controversial switch to Manchester United in August.

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