Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini has expressed his shock at former team-mate Cesc Fabregas’s decision to move to Chelsea from Barcelona.
The Frenchman, speaking to Goal.com, has also revealed his disappointment at manager Arsene Wenger’s failure to re-sign the Spaniard from the Catalan giants, which prompted Jose Mourinho to step in and exercise his buy-back option.
He said: “I had an amazing time with him at Arsenal and he stayed a very close friend of mine.
“I’m a bit disappointed that he’ll be playing with Chelsea rather than us, but I respect his decision.
“I’m also very happy that he’s coming back to London because he’s going to be my neighbour, so I’ll see him a lot!
“It will be very strange to play against him, and it won’t be easy - we were laughing about it when I saw him a few days ago - but I’m happy because it will give me the opportunity to see him a bit more than when he was in Barcelona.”
The two were part of the same Arsenal side that was formed in the post-Invincibles era of 2004, and played together until Flamini’s own move to AC Milan in 2008. But this season they will be lining up on opposite sides of the pitch once more, after Chelsea’s audacious £30million acquisition of the Spanish international.
The move also shocked many Gunners fans, but with a touch more anger from those who have now turned on their former hero and club talisman.
Many of them have labelled Fabregas a hypocrite for going back on a tweet he made in 2010 stating: “If I ever wore a Chelsea shirt, you have permission to kill me."
Some Arsenal fans seemingly have long memories about the Spaniard’s supposed betrayal, but forget that it was only a move that came about as a result of Wenger’s resistance to bringing Fabregas back to The Emirates.
Whichever part of London he now calls home, the Premier League is surely better off with a player of Fabregas’s quality no matter what club he is playing for.
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