Cesc Fabregas beat Willian and Pedro in Chelsea speed test using intelligence

Cesc Fabregas is a bona fide Premier League legend.

With both Arsenal and Chelsea, the Spanish midfielder was electric and is currently second in the division’s all-time assist chart with 118 – behind only Ryan Giggs.

At Arsenal, Fabregas was more of an attack-minded midfielder who scored goals for fun, while at Chelsea he was more of a deep-lying playmaker that dictated the tempo of games.

The former Barcelona man excelled in both roles and much of his success in them was down to his supreme footballing intelligence.

Few players to have graced the Premier League have read the game better than Fabregas, who was capable of dismantling a team with one swing of his right boot.

It’s speed of thought that often beats speed of feet in professional football, as Fabregas himself proved during a training drill at Chelsea a few years back.

Fabregas vs Willian & Pedro in speed drill

Cesc Fabregas in Chelsea training
COBHAM, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 28: Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea during a training session at Chelsea Training Ground on September 28, 2015 in Cobham, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Now, in a drill that measured speed and agility, you’d think Willian and Pedro – two wingers renowned for being quick – would walk all over Fabregas, right?

Well, you’d be wrong.

The drill required each player to pick up cones and place them on a pole, the quickest to collect them all was declared the winner, pretty simple.

So Fabregas decided to collect the cones in an order which meant that he didn’t have to change direction drastically or cover ground unnecessarily – which, of course, saved him valuable time.

Video: Fabregas comfortably beat Willian & Pedro

Well played, Cesc. Physical speed is very, very important in football, but it’s not the be all and end all.

Willian seemed a little aggrieved that he’d been defeated in the mind over matter battle by Fabregas, but the Brazilian was beaten fair and square by his quick-thinking teammate.

As the great Johan Cruyff once poignantly said: “What is speed? The sports press often confuses speed with insight. See, if I start running slightly earlier than someone else, I seem faster.”

There was one man who Fabregas struggled to get the better of in training, though; Lionel Messi.

Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi at Barcelona
BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 03: Lionel Messi (R) of Barcelona celebrates with team-mate Cesc Fabregas after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg match between FC Barcelona and AC Milan at the Camp Nou stadium on April 3, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

“There’s one story which stays with me, others I can’t tell you,” Fabregas previously told TyC Sports.

“I had to defend against him and you know he’s going to the left, and he does, but he still makes me fall to the floor.”

Don’t worry, Cesc, we’re 100% certain that countless other suffered the same fate in training at the hands of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.

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