Cesc Fabregas says he left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2011 for a number of reasons, including his relationship with some former team-mates, pressure on winning trophies and the club’s lack of recruitment.
Fabregas joined Arsenal from Barca as a 15-year-old in 2003 and went on to make 303 appearances across all competitions before returning to the Nou Camp, where he then joined Chelsea, and now plays for Monaco in Ligue 1.
In a wide-ranging interview with Arseblog, the 32-year-old spoke openly about his decision to leave the Gunners nine years ago, citing a number of different reasons, admitting that he felt Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri were the only players “on his level” and that he had many “sleepless nights”.
“I was the captain, I always felt so much pressure on myself,” Fabregas said. “I had to lead this team to win something. I gave everything. Sometimes, I used to go home after we lost and I used to cry.
“I used to suffer, I used to spend sleepless nights suffering. And then you lose a game, you’re in the bus like this, destroyed, and then you hear some players laughing, thinking about where they will be going out later.
“This was going on for a few years. We were playing beautiful football and I enjoyed that side of things but I was putting pressure on myself to lead, to do everything and at one point I felt kind of lonely.
“Especially in the last two or three years, I felt Robin and Samir were the only players – it’s not an arrogant thing to say, it’s how I felt at that time – were the players who were at my level mentally and technically.