Cesc Fabregas has been through his worst spell in his football career this season as he was at a time below Nathaniel Chalobah in the pecking order.
The Spaniard kept his cool and fought hard to win the trust of Antonio Conte even after a terrible display in the 3-0 loss to Arsenal early in the season.
At the beginning of the season, many pundits claimed Fabregas didn’t have what it takes to play for Conte and was rumoured for a Chelsea exit. But the 30-year-old has fought and eventually clawed himself into Conte’s plans.
Moments after the victory against Middlesbrough, Fabregas told Sky Sports: “It’s been different year for me. I’m used to playing week in week out through my career but I’ve matured a lot.
“It’s not easy what has happened to me. Many said I’m not a player for Antonio and I should leave but I like challenges.
“I haven’t played every single game but I feel the quality of my minutes this season has been fantastic. I have to be patient and accept that these things happen and that’s it.
“I will play for the team and play for the club. It has been a different season for me but I’m still proud.”