[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he former Arsenal skipper is nearing the end of his second full season back “home” after one the most publicized transfers saw him go from London to Camp Nou.
Cesc Fabregas achieves playmaking milestone
Frances Fabregas Soler started his career in the famous youth academy of La Masia but at 16 years of age was signed by Arsenal and before he turned 18 he had already more than 30 Premier League games under his belt. By the time he was 21 he was already named team captain.
Before turning 24, Fabregas had already played a Champions League final, a European Championship final and a World Cup final. He had assisted Iniesta in the most famous goal in Spanish history, scored perhaps the most important penalty in Spanish football and has a collection of silverware that a player could dream at a national team level.
An integral part of La Roja, many widely expected that Fabregas’s move back to Barcelona would cement the central midfielder as one of the greats in Spanish football history. But his two years at the Nou Camp has been rather inconsistent, with the player starting both seasons brightly, but seemingly fading away in the New Year.
Despite things not going to plan, Fabregas has managed to reach a milestone in his career and an accomplishment that only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have managed to achieve in recent seasons.
With 10 assists and 10 goals, Cesc has become the first player since the 2006-07 season, with the exception of Lionel Messi, to record ‘the playmaking perfect 10’ in a single Liga season for FC Barcelona.
Fabregas finished the first-half of the season with 9 assists and 6 goals, but after not scoring or assisting for three months he seemed set to fall marginally short again; last season he managed 9 goals and 8 assists.
But when Messi wasn’t fit to play against Mallorca (after infamously limping out of Barca’s 2-2 draw away to PSG in the Champions League), the former Arsenal star rose to the challenge; scoring his first hat-trick as a Barcelona player and producing his 10th assist of the season. Just two matches later, Fabregas reached double digits in both categories when scoring the last minute winner against Levante.
The last person to achieve such a feat for Barcelona (again, without counting the Argentinean maestro), was Ronaldinho, who scored 21 goals and provided 10 assists in the 2006-07 season.
In fact, (outside of Messi) only Cristiano Ronaldo has accomplished this in La Liga over the last two seasons, and has again achieved the feat this season; making it three-in-a-row for the Real Madrid star.
Perhaps the most incredible fact about Fabregas’ milestone is that he has done this without being the top scorer of his team, nor the top assister. Messi has already exceeded both milestones again, and leads the scoring charts with 46 goals but Iniesta is likely to be the assists leader in La Liga, having already made 15 – three more than the Argentinean number 10.
Fabregas can also be joined in this incredible milestone by a former teammate in Carlos Vela. The Mexican forward is having a career year with Sociedad, already scoring 14 goals, and is just 2 assists away to record 10.
Mesut Ozil, Real Madrid’s mercurial number 10 is also on course to reach the ‘perfect 10’ milestone this season if he can find just one more goal in the remaining Liga fixtures.
Vela’s achievement deserves praise, regardless, for doing this in a team with less quality than that of Madrid or Barcelona. In fact, last time a player out of the big two managed to do this was back in 2005 when another famous playmaker, Juan Román Riquelme, achieved it whilst playing for Villarreal.
This is also be the second time in Fabregas’ career that he has reached double figures in both categories, as he accomplished it in the 2009-10 season – his best year wearing the Arsenal shirt. But contrary to that occasion, Cesc’s current season has been labelled as inconsistent and full of under achievement, despite claiming (barring a disaster) what will be the first league title of his career.
However with a direct participation in 20 league goals, who wouldn’t want a bad season such as this one?
This article can be found in its original form here, and has been changed to reflect the updated statistics.
Statistics correct as of date published and taken from whoscored.com