Media 30 July 2020, 16:46

Cesc Fabregas speaks to CNN

Cesc Fabregas speaks to CNN
AS Monaco's Spanish midfielder opened up to the US news channel in a video interview in which he spoke about a wide variety of topics.

When you’re a professional football player, you often have a lot of stories to tell. An opinion on social issues. All the more so when you have had the experiecnce of a world and European champion like Cesc Fabregas, who has played nearly 800 career games to date. It was no less then the American news channel CNN  who were interested in the AS Monaco midfielder, who was quite talkative in a video interview. Prison, racism, homosexuality… Here are some excerpts…

His grandmother tested positive for COVID-19 twice

“It’s absolutely incredible. She just turned 96 on July 23 and she overcame this ordeal. We are very proud of her. There is a time when a lot of people have succumbed (to COVID-19 -ed) . She was worried and she even told me it was over. I told her that she had to stay optimistic because you never know what’s going to happen in life. And she is still here with us.”

How he experienced the lockdown

“I enjoyed the little pleasures of life with my wife and our three children. But on the other hand I was also very jealous of remaining a spectator when the teams from other leagues resumed competition. I think the other leagues have shown a lot of discipline, professionalism and that we could have done things differently here in France as well. In any case, I say hats off to the teams which have gone to the end of their league season.”

His view of racism in football

“My dream is to bring my son to every match every Saturday or Sunday. And when you see that stuff, you don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do it. I like when the fans are excited. But when you cross the line, what’s the point? What’s the point? There are a lot of people, kids watching it all. I’ve heard racist chants sometimes in the stadiums. Sometimes you don’t really pay attention because you’re focused on the game. And then your teammates are telling you ‘listen to what they’re singing, what they’re saying’. It’s terrible. And maybe we haven’t all had the courage to stand up to speak out against this until now. It’s time for things to change. We don’t have the right to give up or back down… even if the racism won’t go away overnight.”

On the need to make young people aware of the problem of racism

“When I hear Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford speak … they are legends. We have to listen to them. You learn so much from young people like them. They are an example to society and to all of us.”

The Spanish midfielder arrives at the Stade Louis-II
Cesc Fàbregas makes his debut with l'AS Monaco.
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On the matter of homosexuality in football

“I’m sure there are footballers out there who are gay. I think their saying as much is the next step. I understand why they are scared of coming out, because they feel alone. They know ignorant people are going to attack them about it and sing songs against them in the stands. I knew someone like that who was shy and scared of what you might think of him. It’s a very complicated subject to tackle, especially if you’re a young player. It’s up to experienced players to help them express themselves.”

On the opportunity he had to play from a very young age

“Arsène Wenger put me on the pitch every weekend at 16, and I made mistakes when I look at the videos of these matches in hindsight. And yet he put me back in the team every week, and by this repetition, one becomes the player that once can be. Without this chance, I do not know what I, Thierry Henry or Patrick Vieira would have become. You always need the vision of a father figure like him who believes in you to progress.”

On the possibility that he will someday be a manager

“I had the chance to play with the best during my career. I think my style, if I had to become a coach, would be a mix between Pep Guardiola, José Mourinho, Arsène Wenger… not bad, right? I will take the best of each and there you have the best coach in history.”

Rise. Risk. Repeat.