Yesterday, ex-Arsenal and Chelsea legend Cesc Fabregas was spotted training the Arsenal U18 boys alongside fellow ex-Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.
This comes only 4 days after reports that he wants to get into management, and dreams of managing Arsenal and Barcelona.
The reports said that he has already talked to Mikel Arteta about it and that he also draws influence from Arteta, Xavi, and Guardiola as successful players turned managers.
However, before the conversation of his managerial career comes into play, this photo of him training the youth of Arsenal brought up the conversation and debate about his status as an Arsenal legend or Arsenal traitor.
Arsenal have a long and sad history of players leaving their club for greener pastures elsewhere.
A lot of these players were not just their regular players, but their star players, legends even.
Consequently, they have left a sour taste in the mouths of the many Arsenal fans who to this day get angered when the names of these players are brought up.
Prime examples of these players are the likes of Robin Van Persie and “Cashley” Cole, who are nothing short of hated by the Gooners.
Another name frequently pops up in this conversation, that of Cesc Fabregas, however, the hatred for him is a lot less when compared to the others.
Why? It’s pretty simple.
The keyword to answering “why?” is respect.
Robin Van Persie and Ashley Cole showed no respect to or for the club and their fans after leaving.
The manner in which they left was just as disrespectful as everything they did after.
Cesc Fabregas, on the other hand, did almost everything that a fan would expect an ex-player to do.
He left Arsenal for Barcelona, his boyhood club, which is completely understandable. Yes, the way he left was toxic, and eventually what gave rise to resentment in the heart of the Arsenal board and Wenger.
But at least the transfer was to Barcelona and not another Premier League club, especially rivals.
Once he finished his time at Barcelona, he asked Wenger if he could return to the club.
Wenger had his midfield filled up with the likes of Ozil and others, and also had his emotions hurt after Cesc’s way of leaving the club, and thus said no to the Arsenal legend.
This left Cesc with no option but to join the only other good club that wanted him – Chelsea.
Fans were angry, and they got angrier when he won against Arsenal and pointed to the Chelsea badge. It seemed as though Arsenal had another case of a fallen legend at their hands.
However, in the same match’s post-match interview, he clarified his stance and gave a statement that won at least some of the fans back over.
During the interview, Fabregas was asked if the victory was sweeter because of the Arsenal fans booing him.
The Spaniard replied –
No. Not at all. I have huge respect for Arsenal. They gave me everything when I was little. Without them I know I wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t have won what I’ve won. I respect the fans, I take it in a positive way. I know they love me.
He added another classy touch by telling the Arsenal fans they would be in his heart forever.
And then of course there was this tweet, which he tweeted to answer why he touched the Chelsea badge.
He was still a Blue. That wasn’t forgotten. The bitterness persisted.
But he was not like Van Persie who left Arsenal for silverware or Ashley Cole who fought his way out for a bigger check.
He wasn’t like Nasri who left for a “bigger organization” and he sure wasn’t like Aubameyang who was shamelessly Blue.
He had respect, and he made sure to maintain that respect no matter what direction his career took him.
Rest assured, he still has haters.
A lot of them.
Fans think he would defect to Barcelona again the second he gets a chance, or that he would teach young Arsenal kids to play for other clubs.
It’s too early to make a judgment about his future at Arsenal as a coach or not, but it’s good to see him return to the club that he clearly still loves. Arsenal fans stay divided on whether to hate Cesc or not, but all can agree he is nowhere near some others who hurt them a lot more.