Monday, November 18, 2019

On the margin but in the headlines – team player Cesc

SoccerNews in La Liga 24 Jun 2008

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He is regarded as one of the world's most talented playmakers.

Yet unfortunately for Cesc Fabregas his country Spain have an abundance of them and he must therefore await his chance from the bench as the Furia Roja look to beat Russia on Thursday to reach the final of Euro 2008.

Cesc says that's fine by him – as long as he preferably gets at least a taste of the action.

“If I have to help the team in the last half-hour as has happened until now, or even five minutes, or even not at all, that's okay by me. I am not seeking to cover myself in glory but I want it for the team, for Spain,” said Arsenal's Catalan gunner.

“I am available for the coach for the first minute, the 60th, the 90th, extra-time or penalties,” he insisted.

Just 21, Fabregas has managed, despite the competition from the likes of Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Marcos Senna, to lift his caps haul to 30 and was on target with his first goal for his country in the group win over the Russians after Fernando Torres had gone off.

And even if he has had to be content with a cameo role in terms of minutes played he has milked every moment, rather eclipsing the goal against Russia with the decisive penalty kick in the shootout win over world champions Italy.

Faced with the world's top keeper Gianluigi Buffon, Cesc put his kick away with aplomb to send Spain into their first semi since 1984.

On that occasion they got through at Denmark's expense only to lose to France in the trophy match.

But after ending an 88-year hoodoo against the Italians in competitive matches Cesc says it's full steam ahead for Luis Aragones' men.

“I have always felt supported by the coach, he gives me confidence. He asked me to take the fifth penalty (against Italy).

“It was a big responsability to take on.”

In fact, Cesc originally gave up being a penalty taker at the age of 15.

Playing 231 minutes or just on 58 minutes per match to date – he did start the third group match against Greece – has kept him more or less fresh and he has used the time he has been afforded highly effectively.

Cesc meanwhile warns that Spain must not feel that their earlier 4-1 win over Guus Hiddink's side will help them on Thursday.

“That would be a mistake. If we were to think that it would be like starting 1-0 down,”he insists.

“They are a very complete team and want to win just as much as we do.

“They remind me much of ourselves. I hope we can perform to the best of our ability and reach the final.”

King Juan Carlos has already been to see the team – following the quarter-final win, though heir Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia will watch the semi-final in Vienna.

“We were euphoric when the king came into the dressing room,” says Cesc, who hopes their paths will cross again next Sunday.

“I hope he'll still be there when we get to the final!”

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