Cesc Fabregas will hardly recall his time at Barcelona with much dissatisfaction.
The Spaniard returned to the Camp Nou in 2011 and went on to win La Liga and the Copa del Rey in three seasons.
Admittedly, he would have loved to have stayed for Barca’s current purple patch. They are the reigning La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey winners and have the opportunity to win the domestic competitions again this month.
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But Fabregas was sold to Chelsea in 2014. He's since been accused of forcing the exit of one manager and has had to endure a rather miserable campaign this season.
So his response when discussing a possible return to Barcelona, the club he joined as a 10-year-old, was pretty surprising.
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Fabregas told Marca that it would be “impossible” for him to return to the Catalan giants. He didn’t leave on troubled terms but is adamant that the Barcelona chapter of his career has closed.
But he didn’t rule out a return to Spain.
Barca return is impossible
When asked if he would like to play in La Liga again, the former Arsenal star said: “Yes, why not? Now, honestly, I do not think that because I have many outstanding bills at Chelsea after how it went this season,” per Sport Witness.
“I do not really think of anything else, but in my opinion, the Spanish league is the strongest with the English.”
“To return to Barca would no longer be possible. It is impossible. Even if I wanted to. The Barcelona stage is over, it is closed."
Perhaps Fabregas’ exit from the Camp Nou wasn’t as smooth as it appeared. Barcelona were happy to sell the World Cup winner for roughly £30 million but any concerns he had were certainly kept a secret.
His comments after signing for Chelsea tell as much: “Firstly, I would like to thank everyone at FC Barcelona where I enjoyed three wonderful years,” he said, per The Guardian. “It was my childhood club and I will always be proud and honoured that I had a chance to play for such a great team.”
Fabregas wants to bounce back
Fabregas made 129 appearances but had to compete for minutes with Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets. It was always going to be difficult for him to replace those outstanding talents.
Those “outstanding bills” Fabregas references is a reflection of Chelsea’s dismal defence of their Premier League title. Many fans blamed Jose Mourinho’s sacking in December on the 29-year-old, as well as Eden Hazard, and was labelled a “rat” by fans.