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Fabregas: Barcelona wanted to keep me
Cesc Fabregas says Barcelona tried to stop him signing for Chelsea but the attraction of the exciting young squad at Stamford Bridge - and the club's proximity to the Catalan capital - made up his mind.
Fabregas signed a five-year contract with Chelsea when his £27 million move was completed last week and admitted former club Arsenal had declined their option to buy him back because they had Mesut Ozil.
But a move to a London club was top of his agenda after a tough time in La Liga. "Above all, I want to be happy," Fabregas told Spanish radio station Cadena COPE. "On the professional side, there is a group of young players at Chelsea that I'm excited to work with. On the personal side, I have no doubt I'll be happy. I lived in London for eight years. I have friends there, I have family there and I'm an hour and a half away from Barcelona.
"I asked Barcelona to find a way for me to leave the club. The president tried to stop the sale, but I already had my mind made up. At the time, I spoke with [sporting director] Andoni Zubizarreta and the president [Bartomeu] and I told them I wanted to leave. Honestly, it all went really smoothly."
Strangely, given Fabregas's assertion, Barcelona had released a statement when he signed for Chelsea which claimed he did not score enough during his three years at the club - something he has pointedly rejected.
"There has been a downward trend in his stats every season at the club," the club statement said. "He slipped right back into the FCB [Football Club Barcelona] system as if he'd never been away.
"But despite glowing starts to each campaign, Cesc's contributions to the cause gradually decreased as each season drew to a close."
However, Fabregas, 27, insisted he enjoyed a "spectacular" time at the Nou Camp despite not hitting the heights in the showpiece games. "The statistics aren't bad, but I know that in big games, these goals and assists didn't emerge," he said. "I spent three spectacular years, with my friends, in Barcelona. It was a blast and we won six titles."