Cape Town - Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has paid tribute to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger for giving him the opportunity to play in the Premier League when he was still a teenager.
Fabregas joined the Gunners in 2003 after impressing Wenger during his time in the Barcelona youth ranks, and quickly showed his worth making his senior debut in October of that year.
The Spaniard spent eight seasons at Arsenal and made over 300 appearances for the club, winning the FA Cup in 2005.
He returned to Catalonia in 2011 had further success in a three-year spell for Barcelona, winning a La Liga title, the Copa del Rey, the FIFA Club World Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and two Spanish Super Cups.
In 2014 Fabregas returned to England when he signed for Chelsea, where he won the 2014/15 Premier League title.
During an exclusive interview with Natacha Tannous this week, Fabregas admitted it was the 'footballing' education he received under Wenger's tutelage that allowed him to be successful at club and international level.
"Arsene Wenger especially, and Arsenal, gave me everything," Fabregas told Tannous.
"Without them I wouldn't be a World Cup winner, a European Championship winner. I would not have experienced all of this that I am doing in my life. So I will always forever be grateful.
"There is many things said about me, about Arsenal, about stuff like that. Obviously I don't really care about what people think about me any more. Arsenal will always be the team that believe in me the most."
Fabregas is likely to be part of the Chelsea team which takes on Arsenal at Stamford Bridge for a key Premier League clash on Saturday.
Kick off is at 14:30.