AN EMOTIONAL Cesc Fabregas hailed Arsene Wenger as “the best person I have met in football” and urged Arsenal to keep faith with their under-fire manager after completing his £35m move to Barcelona.
The former Gunners captain, who yesterday ended a three-year saga by signing a five-year contract at Barca, revealed he broke down when saying goodbye to Wenger on Friday.
“He has been like a father figure,” said Fabregas, 24, who was signed by Wenger as a 16-year-old and fast-tracked into Arsenal’s first team.
“I couldn’t even talk when I wanted to say how grateful I was for what he has done to me, so I had to send a message afterwards saying thanks for everything. I went from being a boy to a man and they gave me absolutely everything in football.”
Wenger has come under fire following six years without a trophy, but Fabregas, who called not lifting a cup as captain his “biggest regret”, urged faith in the Frenchman.
“If Arsenal want to keep being the club they’ve been, they must always remain under his control because he’s the best and everyone respects him,” he said. “He’ll always be the best person I have met in football.”
Fabregas also backed former team-mate Jack Wilshere, 19, to be England captain “in the next two or three years – there is no doubt”.
Barcelona will pay Arsenal an initial £25.5m in two instalments this year, plus £4.4m over the length of his contract and up to £4.4m depending on the club’s success in that period.