Cesc Fabregas vs Alex Ferguson: What really happened in 'Battle of the Buffet'?

If you’re a fan of Premier League football, you’ll know all about the infamous ‘Battle of the Buffet’.

Following an ill-tempered affair between Arsenal and Manchester United at Old Trafford in late 2004, Cesc Fabregas threw a slice of pizza at Sir Alex Ferguson during a tunnel fracas.

The Gunners went into the game on the back of a 49-game unbeaten run in league football and were desperate to make it 50.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were having none of it, though. United ran out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney.

But the scoreline only tells half the story. Referee on the day Mike Riley made a whole host of controversial calls during proceedings in Manchester, something we touched on again back in April.

How United escaped without at least one red card remains a mystery to this very day.

So it’s easy to understand why the Arsenal players were enraged by what had unfolded on the pitch at Old Trafford.

Arsenal vs Man Utd in 2004
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Referee Mike Riley tries to keep the peace between Gary Neville of Man Utd and Edu of Arsenal during the FA Barclays Premiership match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on October 24, 2004 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

What’s not so easy to understand is why Fabregas chose to throw a slice of pizza, a moment that’s etched into Premier League folklore for all eternity.

For 18 long years we’ve wondered why the former Barcelona midfielder went down the food route and now, we finally know why.

In a recent interview with ITV, Fabregas opened the box on ‘Pizzagate’ (pardon the pun) and explained why he chose to launch the Italian cuisine at Ferguson.

Video: Why did Fabregas throw pizza at Fergie?


Cesc Fabregas describes the infamous ‘Pizzagate’ 👀🍕

♬ original sound – ITV Sport

Fabregas said: “We were 49 games unbeaten. They were so competitive but they were very smart people. I was getting a lot of stick as well.

“So, I was very frustrated. You’re warming up and didn’t play. You’re annoyed you lost. I just went in quickly to the dressing room and there was some food there, I was starving.

“I took a slice of pizza and we started hearing noises. You started seeing players and Arsene Wenger everywhere.

“The first thing that occurred to me was to throw the pizza because I didn’t have the power or the courage maybe to go into that fight. They were monsters in there. They were super, super big guys. Apparently it hit Sir Alex Ferguson.”

Cesc Fabregas and Arsene Wenger
LONDON – NOVEMBER 1: Manager Arsene Wenger of Arsenal talks to Cesc Fabregas during the Arsenal Football Club training session at London Colney training ground on November 1, 2004 in London. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Well, you certainly can’t fault Fabregas for being honest. He was just 16 at the time and knew he couldn’t take on the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Roy Keane in a physical battle.

Ferdinand himself actually spoke about the incident on his own Vibe with Five podcast and he firmly believes the former Arsenal captain had no intention of hitting Ferguson with the pizza.

“I don’t think he [Fabregas] meant to throw it at the gaffer, I think he just dashed it out the door and the gaffer was walking past,” the defender-turned-pundit said.

“It did hit him, the lasting memory for me was a security guard was having to hold him back from trying to get into the changing room. That’s what I remember. You know what he’s like, if his head went that was it.”

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