Cesc Fabregas has been handed his 100th cap for Spain after being named captain of the team to face Ukraine in Euro 2016 qualifying.
The Chelsea midfielder, 28, made his 99th appearance in the 4-0 win over Luxembourg on Friday and now reaches his century for Spain’s final qualifier of the campaign in Kiev.
Fabregas made his senior international debut as an 18-year-old, playing the full 90 minutes in a 3-2 friendly victory over Ivory Coast on March 1 2006 in Valladolid, and went on to play in that year’s World Cup in Germany as Spain were knocked out at the last-16 stage.
He had to wait until Euro 2008, when he was at Arsenal, to score his first Spain goal in a 4-1 group-stage victory over Russia. He converted the winning penalty in a dramatic shoot-out against Italy in the quarter-finals and played from the start as Spain won the tournament with a 1-0 triumph over Germany in the final.
Disappointment arrived the following June when Spain were stunned by the United States in the Confederations Cup, but they bounced back in 2010.
Fabregas was unable to establish himself as a first-team regular during the World Cup in South Africa, but did make four appearances from the bench including one in the final, where he played in Andres Iniesta to score the extra-time winner against Netherlands.
Euro 2012 was arguably the then-Barcelona player’s best major tournament in Spain colours. He scored goals against Italy and Republic of Ireland, before scoring the winning goal in the penalty shoot-out victory over Portugal in the semi-final.
Fabregas started in the final as Spain romped to a 4-0 victory over the Italians in Kiev, the same place he celebrates Monday’s milestone.
The caps kept coming in the Confederations Cup in 2013, but the midfielder was not in the team as Spain suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the final.
He was included in the squad for their disastrous 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil, but did not start any of their matches as losses to Netherlands and Chile emphatically ended an era of dominance for Vicente del Bosque’s men.
Now one of his nation’s most experienced players, Fabregas captained Spain against Netherlands in March. He has scored 14 goals in his 99 caps prior to the Ukraine clash.
He joins Iker Casillas, Xavi, Andoni Zubizarreta, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres, Andres Iniesta, Raul and Carles Puyol in the 100 club.