[dropcap]B[/dropcap]arcelona playmaker Cesc Fàbregas has admitted he was surprised that bitter rivals Real Madrid let go Mesut Ozil on transfer deadline day – a player he believes was Madrid’s ‘second best’ player.
Cesc talks transfers
In the wake of completing the long-protracted Gareth Bale signing, the Spanish giants sanctioned Ozil’s transfer to Arsenal for a record deal of around £42.5m, despite the player himself insisting he wished to remain in the Spanish capital.
Many leading players at the Bernabéu club expressed their disappointment at the decision to let the German playmaker leave, not least Cristiano Ronaldo, with whom he had formed a prolific on-pitch partnership. The club’s fans also made their feelings known, chanting ‘hands off Ozil’ as they gathered at Bale’s official unveiling as stories of the potential deal started to emerge.
The story was also felt in Catalonia, as former Arsenal star Fàbregas later admitted on Spanish radio station Cadena Cope:
“I was really surprised by Ozil’s departure. He seemed to me the second-best player at Madrid, after Cristiano [Ronaldo]. He’ll be great for Arsenal.”
Fàbregas spent 8 years at the Gunners and was himself, the subject of strong transfer speculation, linking him with a return to Premier League; this time to Manchester United after their failed attempts to land his former teammate, Thiago Alcantara.
Barcelona always remained adamant the player wasn’t for sale, despite a change in manager and no less than two approaches from United, citing the 26 year old as integral to their club on numerous occasions. Touching on the subject, Fàbregas again sought to end any speculation, once again declaring his love for the club and his wish to remain at the Nou Camp despite his difficulties becoming a regular in teh starting line-up.
“The tougher the challenge the better I like it and Barcelona was the biggest and most difficult, and I want to finish in a happy manner and if I can retire at Barça, then so much the better. The only thing in my head is triumphing at Barcelona.
“When I arrived at Barcelona I already knew there were other places where I could earn more or where I could have more minutes, but coming to Barça was my dream. It was my dream since I was small. I wouldn’t go, not even for double the money.”