‘I’m not sure he was always an exemplary player’: Bacary Sagna hits back at former Arsenal team-mate Cesc Fabregas’s claims that ‘only Van Persie and Nasri’ were on his level
- Bacary Sagna has hit back at Cesc Fabregas’ criticism of his Arsenal team-mates
- Fabregas claimed only Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie matched him at Arsenal
- Sagna suggested Fabregas could have done more for the club during his spell
Bacary Sagna has hit back at former team-mate Cesc Fabregas after the Spaniard claimed only two players were on the same level as himself whilst at Arsenal.
Fabregas – who was made Arsenal captain at the age of 21 – recently revealed he struggled with the pressure of carrying his team for much of his eight-year spell at the North London club before leaving for Barcelona in 2011.
The 32-year-old is now at Monaco following a successful return to England with Chelsea and said only Robin Van Persie and Samir Nasri matched his quality at the Gunners.
Bacary Sagna has hit back at Cesc Fabregas’ recent criticisms of his Arsenal team-mates
Fabregas (left) and Sagna (middle) were Arsenal team-mates between 2007 and 2011
But Sagna – who played for the club between 2007 and 2014 and was twice named in the Premier League Team of the Year – has hit back at these claims, suggesting Fabregas could have done more to help the cause at times of his spell with the Gunners.
‘I was surprised to read this’, Sagna told Goal, ‘From him I was surprised because he was supposed to be one of the leaders of the team, he was one of the great prospects and as a leader and a true player, you don’t speak like that about your club.
‘So I was surprised because he is a nice guy, he’s still a nice guy, this doesn’t change anything. But I was kind of surprised.
Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri were the only stars who were ‘on his level’, Fabregas said
‘Arsenal made him so saying that some players were not at his level was a bit harsh because I’m not sure out of all the seasons he was playing at the club, he was always an exemplary player.
Arsenal always finished in the top four while Fabregas was at the club, but were often criticised for not going the extra mile in challenging for the title, and went through a notable trophy drought between 2005 and 2014.
Fabregas struggled with injuries at certain times at Arsenal and was regularly linked with a move away from the club to his boyhood club Barcelona before his 2011 transfer, leading to some question over his commitment.
The Spaniard (middle) was club captain at Arsenal but at times struggled with injuries
Fabregas was often linked with a move away and eventually left Arsenal for Barcelona in 2011
‘At that time the press was talking about him not running enough or tracking back. So other players could have said ‘you should be running more or doing more’.
‘I don’t agree with that statement. It’s his opinion and he’s right to have an opinion, but we all have good moments and bad moments in our career and I’m not sure he always had great moments with Arsenal.
BACARY SAGNA AT ARSENAL
Honours: FA Cup (2014), PFA Premier League Team of the Year (2007/08, 2010/11)
Yes, he is a great player, he has amazing quality, but maybe some people were expecting more from him.’
Sagna’s words come after Fabregas spoke at length about his time in North London, where he said he struggled to sleep at night and became frustrated at a lack of desire from some of his Arsenal team-mates.
‘I was the captain, I always felt so much pressure on myself,’ Fabregas told Arseblog. ‘I had to lead this team to win something. I gave everything. Sometimes, I used to go home after we lost and I used to cry.
Sagna (second left) was a fan favourite at Arsenal and helped them win the FA Cup in 2014
‘I used to suffer, I used to spend sleepless nights suffering. And then you lose a game, you’re in the bus like this, destroyed, and then you hear some players laughing, thinking about where they will be going out later.’
‘Especially in the last two or three years, I felt Robin and Samir were the only players – it’s not an arrogant thing to say, it’s how I felt at that time – were the players who were at my level mentally and technically.’
Sagna was a fan favourite during his time with Arsenal, making 285 appearances and helping deliver Arsenal’s first trophy in nine years when they won the FA Cup in 2014 before leaving to join Manchester City the same year.