LONDON — Cesc Fabregas gave an emotional speech to his Chelsea teammates after making what looks certain to be his final Stamford Bridge appearance before leaving to join Monaco in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round.
501 appearances, 79 goals and 148 assists in English football.
An emotional Cesc Fàbregas says goodbye to Stamford Bridge. pic.twitter.com/QYcn4xPVcu
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 5, 2019
Fabregas, who captained Chelsea in the game and missed a penalty with the score goalless, received a standing ovation when he was substituted with five minutes remaining, and also returned to the pitch at the final whistle to applaud the fans before walking down the tunnel in tears.
A January move to Monaco is expected to be finalised in the coming days, and after the match teammate David Luiz admitted he will be sad to see Fabregas leave Chelsea.
“I think not just [emotional] for him, for everybody,” Luiz said. “One of the best players playing in England was him, everyone knows that. It’s sad for everybody when you lose this kind of player, this kind of person, but I think everybody has to stand up and clap because he deserves it.
“I think he won everything with this club. My memories are always going to be with the world-class player, with the great technique. He’s a great guy.
“He did a speech [in the dressing room] and then after that we all said thank you and hugged him.”
Asked what Fabregas had said, Luiz replied: “No, it’s not etiquette. If he wants to say, it’s going to be him, not me.
“It’s always difficult to lose players, especially like him, because like I say he’s a world-class player but also I understand it’s part of the process. If it’s better for him and better for the club, we have to understand that.”
Maurizio Sarri has repeatedly insisted that losing Fabregas — the one player he considers technically capable of filling in for Jorginho at the base of Chelsea’s midfield — during the season will cause a problem for him, but Luiz believes the Spaniard’s personality and experience will also be missed.
“I think football is showing every day it’s not just about the 11 players,” Luiz added. “We have many games, every week you have to change the team. Football years ago, you can talk about the 11 important players, that’s it. Now, football you need a minimum 20 players to play, and to move, to rotate.
“Even if he was not a regular this season, he was an important player for us — he had another great game [against Forest].
“He has experience. He knows football. I think he had the opportunity to learn in many different changing rooms when he was so young, before, so he brings confidence, energy for the team, and then on the pitch he showed that it doesn’t matter the game, he’s always going to show his qualities.
“It’s sad. It’s really sad for us. We are wishing him all the best, because he deserves it.”