Right smack during half time of the Supercopa, the official announcement of Cesc Fabregas’ transfer to Barcelona was made. It was inevitable; we were all praying for its swift conclusion as soon as summer began. But even as I mentally and emotionally prepared myself for this, I guess there was still a minute part of me that hoped that the “swift conclusion” was him staying in Arsenal as our captain. If I didn’t have that hope, then last night wouldn’t have been a sobfest, and the heartbreak that I’m feeling right now would sting a little less.
I use the term heartbreak because that’s exactly what it feels like. It’s no secret that Barca is the club I loathe most in the world, especially since I’m a Madridista. I jokingly say to people that my love for Cesc has lasted longer than my three past relationships combined. (Sadly, that’s true.)
Anyway, I don’t know how to eloquently express how I feel about this, and I don’t know how to do a proper goodbye to a great captain, an even better player, and a personal inspiration.
Let me start by saying that you were the reason I started watching Arsenal in the first place. I’m a relatively new gooner, as you probably can tell. I did not experience the likes of Bergkamp or Pires. Nowadays, with or without you, I watch, support, and love Arsenal. It’s a path that I can’t go back on; there’s no turning back.
Now you’re off to Barcelona. It’s official. I want to thank you for introducing me to this wonderful team. A team that might not have won silverware recently, but one that is full of heart and spirit, and dedication to the sport. You were my captain, and I might never be able to think of Arsenal without linking it to you. I firmly believe that you have loved and still bear great respect for Arsenal, and because of that, I will never find it in me to hate you.
I also want to thank you for all your contribution to the club and for the beautiful football we got to see you do wearing the Arsenal shirt. You have given your all in the eight years you were here, that I’m sure of. You captured the heart of the fans and the team, which is why this is especially hard for us. So forgive the cruel and seemingly unforgiving words by some gooners; it wouldn’t sting this much if we didn’t love you.
I want to wish you well, but only on the national team level. I’m sorry, I can’t wish Barca well. I’m not a hypocrite. But here’s hoping you have a long, injury-free career. Enjoy the game you love playing, you have a lot more to contribute to the world of football. My only regret is not being able to watch you play anymore, except on the national team, and I love watching you play. I’m going to miss you so much.
I wish I could have seen you play in an Arsenal shirt one last time (preferably in person in Malaysia :p). I keep thinking that it hasn’t been enough, what I’ve seen of you. You were gone from the club all too soon; so much more could have happened. But maybe it was for the best that I haven’t watched you recently, it might make the loss unbearable if I haven’t grown accustomed to not seeing you with the team. No matter what others say– even if they have been gooners far longer than I have and have more knowledge of the team– I know YOU, and to me you are an Arsenal legend.
As much as there’s relief that this transfer saga has ended, I am left bereft and lost, and would end up binge-eating my feelings. Probably with donuts, in memory of you.
Au revoir, and God speed El Capitan.
Yeah, I know it’s just a blubbering mess of feelings, but I’m no eloquent sports journalist who can write a touching or thought-provoking piece. This is my personal way of dealing with the loss. I have to say it doesn’t make me feel entirely better but having it all laid out here gives me more room in my head; makes things more sorted. I also know that there are a lot of things I forgot to say, but for now, this is what I have. This is how I feel.