BARCELONA, Aug 16 (AP): Cesc Fabregas� long awaited return to his boyhood club finally was finalized on Monday when he signed a five-year contract with European champion Barcelona.
�It took a lot of years, months, days to get here ... it�s nice to be home after eight years,� the former Arsenal captain said in Catalan during his presentation to fans at Camp Nou, where he repeatedly kissed the Barcelona crest on his new No. 4 jersey.
But while the 24-year-old Fabregas said it was one of the happiest days of his life to once again don Barcelona�s burgundy and blue, he acknowledged it was also bittersweet that he didn�t leave Arsenal as a winner. �I gave everything. But it didn�t show in the club because I really only won an FA Cup,� Fabregas said. �One of my biggest regrets is not leaving Arsenal with a championship.� Fabregas joined Arsenal in 2003 as a 16-year-old prospect from Barcelona�s La Masia academy. Within a month the Catalan playmaker became the youngest starter in Arsenal�s history at 16. The major titles, however, never came.
�It wasn�t really the losing, it was the routine. Year after year, it was always the same story,� Fabregas said. �Fighting until the end only to see we didn�t have the energy, in the semifinals, the finals, to arrive in the final sprint.�
Fabregas, a member of Spain�s 2008 European champions and 2010 World Cup winners, said his goal is to �triumph in Barca, to add my part to make this team stronger.� Fabregas trained with his new teammates later on Monday, getting his first taste of where exactly he will fit into Barcelona�s talented squad, which already includes Lionel Messi, Spanish teammates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta and fellow newcomer Alexis Sanchez.