Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas has revealed he turned down Real Madrid on several occasions to remain with the north London club.
The Spaniard signed for Arsenal’s academy in 2003 at the age of 16 and made his first-team appearances for the club a year later. He went on to feature for the Gunners for more than 300 matches, helping them lift the FA Cup while reaching the Champions League final in 2006. Fabregas has revealed he turned down Madrid several times while at Arsenal before moving to Barcelona in 2011.
“They [Real Madrid] called me more than once or twice. The first time I was very young. I was 18 and they offered me a big salary, but I felt like I belonged at Arsenal,” Fabregas told Spanish outlet AS.
“Wenger had bet the farm on me. I couldn’t leave. In any case, I’ll always be grateful to Madrid for the way they treated me. ‘When I was 23 I had a serious calf injury and they sent me a really nice message.”
“I’m grateful for their interest in me but I always dreamed of playing for Barcelona and if I felt that way it was for a reason. It all worked out pretty well for me.”