Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas says he is proud to have cemented a place in Spain’s starting 11, but knows he needs to perform consistently to stay there.
The 22-year-old played a starring role in Spain’s 5-0 demolition of New Zealand in their opening Confederations Cup game on Sunday, proving the perfect foil for Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.
He also scored a goal, in the first time he had started for Spain at a major international tournament.
“I played well, as did the whole team. It was a great way to set the ball rolling, and I hope that from here we can improve with every game,” he told fifa.com.
Fabregas, who this month moved to quell speculation over his future by pledging to stay with Arsenal, said starting for Spain was a source of pride, although he talks down the achievement.
“It’s not as though I wasn’t a regular before this tournament. I came on as a substitute in many games and played 30 minutes or more, so in total I played for longer than a lot of the players who started,” he said.
“I’ve always felt like a regular on the team, and I think I’ve played my part in our success.”
Fabregas admits, however, that there is something special about being on the pitch from the outset and lining up for the anthems.
“Naturally ever player wants to start games, but there are fantastic players in this team, all of whom are good enough to be out on the pitch. That’s why breaking into the starting 11 is no easy task.”
Next up for Spain is Iraq, who ground out a 0-0 draw with South Africa in their opening game.
Despite Spain being favourites here on Wednesday, Fabregas said there was no room for complacency as the national team searches to extend its 33-game unbeaten run.
“We know we’re favourites but we’ve got to be wary going into these matches,” he said.
“We saw the game between South Africa and Iraq before travelling to the stadium and we’re going to analyse the video. We’ll be taking the remaining matches extremely seriously.”
A victory for Spain would ensure the European champions’ progression into the semi-finals.
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