Cesc Fabregas: Why England will miss the Chelsea midfielder off the pitch

Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas has made 501 appearances in English football

Adored at Arsenal and loved at Chelsea, Cesc Fabregas has made 501 appearances, scored 79 goals and won six major trophies in his 12 years in England.

The youngest Arsenal player - and youngest non-Englishman - to score in the Premier League, he is one of only five Spaniards to have scored 50 or more goals in the competition.

Underrated? Maybe.

As he joins Ligue 1 side Monaco - managed by his former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry - on a three-and-a-half year deal, we look at three things Fabregas has been loved for off the pitch.

'The Battle of the Buffet'

The Sun newspaper following 'pizzagate'
Sir Alex Ferguson says that day "created a division between myself and Wenger, without doubt"

There's only one place to start.

If you aren't aware of 'Pizzagate' - otherwise known as the 'Battle of the Buffet' - picture the scene: Manchester United have just beaten Arsenal 2-0 at Old Trafford. It's a result that ends the Gunners' 49-match unbeaten run. After the game, players and officials from both sides clash in the tunnel and, as tempers flare, punches are not the only thing thrown - United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is hit by a piece of flying pizza.

Football's own 'whodunnit' unfolds over the next 13 years until Fabregas finally admits he was the culprit.

"I heard noises (from the tunnel) and I thought 'what's happening?' - so I go out with my slice of pizza and I saw Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, Martin Keown... everyone pushing each other," he said.

"I was like 'I want to get in' but I don't know how to and I just threw it. I apologise, Sir Alex, I really didn't mean to do that!"

We can't think too many (if any!) Premier League players who would have had the cojones to own up to hitting Fergie - hairdryer and all - with a slice of pizza!

Captain Cesc

Cesc Fabregas at the World Cup
Cesc Fabregas made his punditry debut for the BBC at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

Fabregas was given plenty of grief on social media when he made his punditry debut for the BBC at last year's World Cup in Russia.

His shirt choices took a hammering, with some saying he looked like a pilot and others likening him to a Russian policeman.

Presenter Gary Lineker even jumped on the bandwagon, asking: "When does the flight take off?"

Fabregas laughed and responded that he got a "two for one" deal on the shirts, and carried on wearing them throughout the tournament.

Bold.

The Messi bromance

Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi
Fabregas and Messi first played together as 13-year-olds at Barcelona's youth academy

Fabregas came through Barcelona's La Masia academy with Lionel Messi, and they were first-team colleagues from 2011-2014.

Despite Fabregas' 12 years in England, the two have remained close friends and regularly make us jealous with Instagram posts from their luxury holidays.

Fabregas even gave Lineker a signed Messi shirt when the two met for an interview last season.

Top bloke.

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Fabregas in tears as he leaves field after final game in English football

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