Football Football

Fabregas relishing senior role


FABREGAS-BIDMADRID, Spain, October 31 – Cesc Fabregas has said he is enjoying his more significant role in the Barcelona side as they look to continue their storming start to the campaign with a win over Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Friday.

Fabregas was involved in all three of Barca’s goals as they moved four points clear of Atletico Madrid in second place with a convincing 3-0 win over Celta Vigo on Tuesday.

Barca boss Gerardo Martino had taken the opportunity to rest a number of his stars for the game in Galicia as the likes of Neymar, Andres Iniesta and Xavi all started on the bench.

However, Fabregas was retained from the side that beat Real Madrid 2-1 on Saturday and registered his second goal of the season with Barca’s third nine minutes into the second-half.

“Right now I am playing a lot of games, I feel important and the only thing that I have to do is play well for the team,” he told the club’s website.

“These rotations give life to a lot of players and they are making us all feel important.”

Martino has been keen to ensure his players don’t suffer from burnout in the way they did towards the end of the last campaign when they were hammered 7-0 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals.

And with Barca in the midst of seven games in 22 days, the Argentine will rotate once more for the visit of Epsanyol.

However, despite the game being sandwiched by a series of other important matches for the hosts, Fabregas doesn’t belive the derby will lose any of its importance.

“A derby is always a derby. It will be difficult and we hope to show our best form and win the three points.”

Despite much talk of Barcelona’s defensive problems, Tuesday night also saw them register their ninth clean sheet in 16 games.

And goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who is the only Barca player to start every game this season, hailed their attitude so far in what, on paper, should be their easier fixtures.

“Winning against Celta is the best possible way to prepare for a derby. We have been reinforced by the Madrid match.

“We have shown how much we want this league and everything depends on winning games like the one on Tuesday and against Espanyol.”

Barca could be short of options at left-back as Adriano is a doubt after limping off against Celta with a hamstring strain, whilst Jordi Alba remains sidelined by a thigh injury so right-back Martin Montoya may start in an unfamiliar role.

Otherwise, Martino has a fully-fit squad to choose from with Gerard Pique, Neymar, Xavi and Iniesta all expected to return.