Cesc Fàbregas: Nigerians who played with former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder

Cesc Fàbregas: Nigerians who played with former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder
Credit: Iconsport

The world is still paying tribute to former Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona star Cesc Fàbregas, who retired from football on 1 July 2023.

The 36-year-old is currently the manager of the U-19 and B-team of Italian Serie B side, Como, where he spent the last year of his professional career. However, fans have continued to reminisce on his best moments in top-flight and international football.

Some of those amazing moments were shared with notable players, a few of whom played for the Nigeria national football team, the Super Eagles.

Here are the Nigerians who played with Fàbregas in his career.

Kanu Nwankwo: Arsenal (2003 – 2004)

Nwankwo Kanu’s time at Arsenal is responsible for growing the club’s fanbase in Nigeria. ‘Papilo’. As he is fondly called, joined Arsenal after legendary manager Arsene Wenger chose to take a chance on him following the diagnosis of his heart condition which prevented him from playing much at Inter Milan in the Italian Serie A.

In the last year of his time at Arsenal, Barcelona La Masia alumnus Cesc Fàbregas signed for Arsenal. Both players shared a dressing room and a training pitch for one year (2003 – 2004) before Kanu left for West Bromwich Albion.

Fàbregas shared a story about his time with Kanu once. “My first training when I joined Arsenal, I was all in my head trying to impress, and I made a tackle on Kanu, and he was so upset with me,” Fàbregas told Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry, during an Instagram live video in 2020.

“When you are young, sometimes you do not think; you just want to go there and prove yourself without realising that you are playing alongside World Cup winners.”

Kanu has been retired since 2011 and is now the chairman of NPFL side Enyimba, who won the NPFL for a record ninth time last season.

John Mikel Obi: Chelsea (2014 – 2017)

Fàbregas played alongside former Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi at Chelsea between 2014 and 2017.

Mikel is a Chelsea legend, having joined the Blues in 2006 following an interesting transfer saga that involved Manchester United. He went on to spend 12 years at the club, winning a host of titles including the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

Fàbregas joined Chelsea in 2014 after a sojourn at boyhood club Barcelona and, alongside Mikel, was pivotal to their 2015/16 Premier League title win. Both players enjoyed a good relationship on the pitch until Mikel left the club for Tianjin TEDA in China. Mikel is also retired from football.

Victor Moses: Chelsea (2016 – 2018)

2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner Victor Moses joined Chelsea in 2012 but was not able to hold down a place in the team.

He was sent on a number of loan spells to different English clubs and was on the brink of exiting the club permanently in 2016. However, he convinced manager Antonio Conte to take a chance on him, which led to him lining up alongside Fàbregas in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons. Both players were pivotal to Chelsea’s 2016/17 Premier League victory and also formed a good friendship on and off the pitch.

Moses was sent on another loan after the 2017/18 season and that would be the end of his on-field relationship with Fàbregas, who left Chelsea in 2019.

Moses finally left Chelsea in 2021 for Russian side Spartak Moscow after several loan spells. The 32-year-old is still with the Russian team.

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago

All-round lover of the beautiful game. Massive football fan, supported Arsenal for decades for reasons that are unexplainable. One day we will win the Champions League!