Cesc Fabregas enjoys 'very special day'
Published 15/08/2011 | 16:46
Cesc Fabregas completed his return to Barcelona from Arsenal today before admitting: "I've waited a long time for this moment."
Fabregas was unveiled by the European champions at the Nou Camp this afternoon after passing his medical and putting pen-to-paper on a five-year contract that includes a buy-out clause of 200 million euros.
The transfer, which could end up earning Arsenal 39 million euros, brings to an end one of the longest-running sagas in football, with the Catalan club having spent several years chasing a player who left them for the Gunners as a 16-year-old.
"I've waited a long time for this moment. It's a very special day. I'm returning home after eight years," said Fabregas.
"I'm grateful to everyone who have helped make today is one of the happiest days of my life. I hope to give my best to the club and that nobody regrets my signing."
Fabregas, 24, joins a Barca side widely regarded as one of the best in history and one that has picked up 10 pieces of silverware in just three years under Pep Guardiola.
The former Arsenal captain admits it is a huge test for him, but one he is not afraid of.
"It's the biggest challenge of my life," he said.
"I've chosen the most difficult path. It's a difficult challenge but I'm not afraid, just the reverse. I will fight until the last drop of sweat."
Fabregas, who will wear the number four shirt at Barca and becomes the club's second big-money signing of the summer after the arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Udinese, admits it was a relief for the move to finally be confirmed.
The transfer had looked to be coming to an end on Friday with suggestions that confirmation of a deal was imminent.
Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes said in a press conference that he believed the transfer was close to being finalised, while his team-mates Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique both sent Fabregas messages on Twitter to welcome their Spain colleague.
However, it was not until late last night that the an agreement between the two clubs was made official.
"They have been three or four intense days and I've tried to keep away from it all as much as possible. Until I had permission from Arsenal to travel I was not going to do it. In the end it has all been worth it," he said.
"I'm happy, as you can see. These have been long weeks where I didn't know what would happen with my future. They have been difficult in the sense of the uncertainty. A weight has been lifted."
Asked what he has learned from his time in England, the World Cup and European Championship winner said: "Now I have much more experience, I'm calmer.
"When you are younger you think of other objectives but I knew that sooner or later I was going to return. I have here the most difficult challenge of my life, but I have to work hard because Pep is very fair with the players."
Barcelona are next in action on Wednesday night when they host arch rivals Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Supercup, having drawn last night's first leg 2-2 at the Bernabeu.
"I didn't see the first leg last night as I was flying over," he said. "But physically I'm fine and ready for everything. It's up to the coach if I to play or not. I'm going to work very hard as always and enjoy it."
Meanwhile, Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta confirmed the club were not currently looking to bring in any more players this summer, although he did not completely rule out any new arrivals.
"The market never closes for a team like Barca, but at this time we are not looking," he said.