Fabregas finally 'comes home' to Barca

Updated: 2011-08-16 08:07

(China Daily)

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 Fabregas finally 'comes home' to Barca

Cesc Fabregas kisses his new jersey during his official presentation at the Camp Nou's stadium in Barcelona.

La Liga giant's marathon pursuit of star midfielder ended on Monday

BARCELONA - Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has completed his move to Barcelona by signing a five-year contract with his boyhood club, the Spanish giant confirmed on Monday.

"Cesc has finally joined FC Barcelona, after signing a contract for the next five seasons. His buyout clause will be 200 million euros ($286.8 million)," the club said in a statement on its website.

"I am coming back home after eight years away," Fabregas, wearing the No 4 shirt, told thousands of fans at the Camp Nou stadium after passing a medical and signing the deal.

Arsenal announced on Sunday that it had finally agreed a deal with Barcelona for the transfer of Fabregas to the Spanish and European champions, where he will link up with the likes of Argentine world player of the year Leo Messi and Spain's World Cup star Xavi Hernandez.

Barcelona confirmed the deal, news of which was released at half-time in their Spanish Supercup clash against Real Madrid.

Financial details have not been revealed.

But Barca president Sandro Rosell told the Catalan daily Sport that the club would pay "29 (million euros) and we are very happy, because we said that we wouldn't pay more than 30 and we achieved that."

The deal, which brings to an end a transfer saga which began last year, takes Fabregas back to the club which he left as a 16-year-old in 2003.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he was sorry to let the player go.

"We have been clear that we didn't want Cesc to leave and that remains the case," said Wenger on Sunday.

"However, we understand Cesc's desire to move to his hometown club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona. We thank Cesc for his contribution at Arsenal and wish him future success."

The midfielder spent eight years at Arsenal and made 303 appearances, scoring 57 goals in all competitions.

Named as Arsenal captain in November 2008, Fabregas also became a regular in the Spanish national team and has made 58 appearances to date.

Barcelona defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique had already anticipated the move on Friday when they sent messages on their Twitter accounts welcoming the player before any official announcement.

"Welcome home, happy to have you here @cesc4official," Puyol tweeted, addressing his message to Cesc's Twitter account. "@cesc4official, we have got him," tweeted Pique.

But Fabregas now faces a fight to earn a regular starting place in the star-studded team.

The 24-year-old is seen as the natural successor to Spain and Barca playmaker Xavi, who turns 32 in January, but it will not be easy to dislodge a man who is central to Barca's trademark possession-based game.

Barca's tried and tested midfield triumvirate of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets have secured three consecutive league titles and two European Cups since 2009.

The same trio have also helped keep Fabregas on the fringes of Spain's national team, but the reason Guardiola pushed so hard for the former Barca academy player is for his adaptability and his intimate knowledge of the Catalan club's playing style.

AFP - Reuters

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