LONDON, March 31 – Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas fears he may not play again this season after suffering a serious leg injury in Wednesday's 2-2 Champions League quarter-final draw against Barcelona.
Fabregas, already struggling with a knee problem, believes he may have sustained the injury either when he was fouled by Carles Puyol to win the penalty that he converted to cap Arsenal’s impressive fightback or when he retrieved the ball from the back of the net after the spot-kick.
The Spain midfielder left the Emirates Stadium on crutches and faces a scan on Thursday that will tell him whether he can recover in time to play any part in the rest of Arsenal’s season or his country’s World Cup campaign.
"I fear the worst which is that I broke something," Fabregas said. "I took the penalty quite strong and I went to get the ball. After that I couldn’t walk anymore.
"We have to wait. But I hope I can wear the Arsenal shirt again this season.
"I fear the worst. If they tell me it is nothing that is better but at least I will know if it is bad.
"I don’t think it is going to be good news but still I hope there will be. It is the same area. It is the fibula."
Fabregas insisted it was not a gamble to play even though he knew he wasn’t fully fit.
The 22-year-old rarely played at his best as a result of the injury but still won and converted the late spot-kick which gives Arsene Wenger’s side hope for the second leg in Spain next week.
"For 85 minutes it was not a gamble to play. I knew that there was something there but until the penalty I was feeling quite good," Fabregas said.
"It was an amazing experience, an amazing game. I will remember it all my life but the injury makes it bad."
Fabregas would have missed the second leg anyway after picking up a yellow card that triggered a one-match suspension.
French defender William Gallas could also miss the Nou Camp clash after breaking down on his comeback from a calf injury, while Russian winger Andrey Arshavin limped off in the first half.
Despite those blows, Fabregas believes the way Arsenal fought back after Barca’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice early in the second half shows they have the spirit and ability to pull off a shock in the return.
"We were dead at 2-0. You can never imagine we would come back," he added. "In the first half we never saw the ball at all. We thought we would get the ball and then all of a sudden they would change sides. It was very tough.
"Then in the second half it was even worse because they started really well and scored two great goals.
"But after that we made a great comeback. Not everyone can do that against a team like that and it says a lot for this team.
"We can definitely do it.They have lost two big players in defenders (Carles) Puyol and (Gerard) Pique.
"I don’t think it is the same without them because they move the ball so well and are so confident. We will see."