Cesc Fabregas speaks out on Arsenal’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona

2006 UEFA Champions League Final
Cesc Fabregas has bittersweet memories of the 2006 Champions League final (Picture: Getty Images)

Cesc Fabregas has named the 2006 Champions League as the only ‘if only’ moment of his career as Arsenal were beaten by Barcelona, but he still takes the positives from coming so close to European glory.

The Spaniard started the Champions League final at the Stade de France shortly after his 19th birthday, playing in an Arsenal midfield alongside Gilbeto Silva, Robert Pires and Alexander Hleb.

Jens Lehmann was sent off just 18 minutes into the contest for the Gunners, and despite Sol Campbell giving them a first half lead, goals from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti in the last 15 minutes gave Barca the title.

Fabregas admits that losing the final narrowly still bothers him, but tries to see the plus side of going toe-to-toe with Frank Rijkaard’s excellent Barcelona team.

‘Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,’ tweeted Fabregas.

‘It’s the “if only” that has resisted in my career and even though I’d do anything to win it, I feel blessed to have played that final and been so close to winning it against one of the best teams in the world at that time. ❤️⚽️’

With Fabregas still playing at 33-years-old for Monaco, it is easy to forget that he was on the field in a previous generation of players in this mammoth clash.

There were only places on the bench for Xavi and Andres Iniesta for Barca, while Deco, Marc van Bommel and Edmilson took the middle of midfield.

Lionel Messi was not involved through injury as Ronaldinho and Eto’o led the line, along with Ludovic Giuly.

The Champions League has eluded Fabregas throughout his career, missing out at Barcelona and Chelsea as well.

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