Who ever thought Cesc Fabregas would work with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea?
We are now at the business end of the season, the run in for the Champions League and Premier League having already won the League Cup. But still, I still can't quite believe that Cesc Fabregas plays for Chelsea and has the season he has had already!
We all know the rivalry Cesc has had with Chelsea and with Jose Mourinho in particular over the years at Arsenal and then Barcelona. It even got to the point that Jose Mourinho had wound Barcelona up so much before they played Manchester City last season that in a TV interview after the game Fabregas sent out a message stating that a certain person should "Shut up!" meaning Mourinho.
So to the fact that he moved to Chelsea and yesterday described playing in the position he does for us as "the best in my career" just goes to show the effect the "Special One" still has on his players.
Speaking ahead of tonight's game, Fabregas paid tribute to Mourinho and Mourinho of Fabregas in the pre-match press conference as both were asked of each other.
“If you asked me 12 months ago, if I’d play for Jose, I’d have said ‘no’. But in football you can never say never.
“Working with Jose, it’s been really good but I knew he was a great personality, and I knew that coming to Chelsea, with a big manager, I’d learn a lot.
“He’s put me in a position I’m enjoying and it’s the best in my career. Hopefully, he will take us to win this competition and many more for Chelsea.”
When asked of Fabregas, here's what Mourinho said:
“As a kid, Cesc was a fantastic player. He played the final against us in 2007, when he was 19, and our midfield was Essien, Makelele, Lampard and Ballack. He was playing fantastic.
“I never felt he would work with me. When I was at Chelsea he was at a rival, Arsenal. When I was at Real Madrid, he was at a rival, Barcelona. So it was unexpected for me that he wanted to come to Chelsea.
“But it’s fantastic because he changed the profile of our team. We can feel his happiness playing for us which is always a question mark when a player has emotional connections with a rival club. He got over that clearly and is happy.”
All of us have to be honest and admit that we admired the player Fabregas had become at Arsenal. He developed upon his natural ability into a leader, a goalscorer and someone who could pick out a pass or a through ball from nothing. Then when he moved "home" to Barcelona it seemed like it was a natural fit but as we watched we could see that something never really seemed quite right. He was played pushed forward and often sacrificed and substituted in games.
For Jose Mourinho to have the guts firstly to even make contact with Fabregas is fantastic considering the rivalry as he said above. To then be able to convince him to leave his hometown club for a second time to come to Chelsea was arguably the signing of the season for us.
Chelsea needed someone to unlock the door, to take control of the ball in midfield and to dictate our game when in possession of the ball. Playing him in a deeper midfield role with the game mostly in front of him has been a real masterstroke and Fabregas will be right up there in contention with others for Player of the year at Chelsea and in the Premier League.
The fact he is here at Chelsea and has said it's the best of his career is still unbelievable!