Thursday, January 20, 2022

Arsenal ready to take Europe by storm vows Fabregas

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Aug 2008


Cesc Fabregas will get the chance to test his belief that Arsenal can revolutionise European football when his side take on Juventus and Real Madrid in the Emirates Cup this weekend.

Fabregas believes Arsene Wenger's side have the potential to match the legendary Ajax team of the 1970s, who won three successive European Cups with a breath-taking style unlike anything that had gone before.

Johan Cruyff, Piet Keizer, Ruud Krol and company were pioneers of a brand of 'total football' that is still spoken of in hushed tones to this day.

Few teams could hope to come close to that standard but Fabregas is convinced Arsenal are within touching distance of emulating the Dutch club.

Arsene Wenger's side, who play Juventus in the four-team pre-season tournament at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, are already one of the most eye-catching teams in the Premier League and Fabregas expects them to get even better when they finally win a major trophy.

“I speak to people in the game a lot and they tell me about Ajax who in the 1970s won the European Cup with an extremely young team and changed the face of the game,” Fabregas said.

“People tell me that we are on course to do that, but we need that stepping stone of winning something, of knowing how to win.

“Before the Euros I didn't know how it felt to win. But now that I have experienced it I know what it takes. You need to have tasted it.

“Look at Chelsea, they hadn't won anything in many years. They got experienced players in, won the league and that gave them experience and confidence together and others followed.

“Sometimes that is the key. Everyone said before last season that we weren't even going to finish amongst the top four and we proved them wrong.”

While Arsenal aspire to greatness, Real Madrid, who face Hamburg in Saturday's other friendly at the Emirates, are already well-established in the panethon of the game's legends.

That doesn't stop the Spanish champions' ceaseless pursuit for perfection and more luxury purchases are on the agenda this pre-season.

With Real's pursuit of Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo appearing to have hit a dead end, the club's coach Bernd Schuster has turned his attention to Hamburg's Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart.

Reports in Spain claim Real have had a bid of 10 million pounds (12.7 million euros) accepted by Hamburg and Schuster should get a chance to see his target in action on Saturday.

Real midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who played with Van der Vaart at Euro 2008, believes his compatriot would prove a valuable addition.

“It would be beautiful. He can play as centre forward or in the same role as Raul just behind the forwards and also in the two positions in midfield,” he told Kicker.

Sunday's fixtures see Arsenal face Real and Hamburg take on Juventus, who are using the tournament as preparation for their Champions League qualifiers.

“I'll use two different line-ups for the two games so that we can keep running for the 90 minutes,” Juve coach Claudio Ranieri said.

“We're working hard to be in the best possible shape for the Champions League preliminary games, even though we know we won't be in top form by that time.”


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