Cesc Fabregas came on as a second-half substitute in the goalless draw against Southampton on Wednesday night to mark his 500th appearance in English football.
In a dour performance at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea couldn’t break the Saints’ defence and Maurizio Sarri introduced Fabregas in the second half to help save the situation. Despite making the team play better after his introduction, Chelsea couldn’t get the goal with a strike by Alvaro Morata ruled out for offside.
At the end of the game, Fabregas went over to the Chelsea fans whom he applauded heartily as he appeared to be saying his goodbyes.
Chelsea fans on social media were quick to thank the Spain international for his time in west London.
Fabregas had lost his place in the team to Jorginho, and the 31-year-old’s contract winds up at the end of the season, and he has so far not signed a contract extension with the club.
Fabregas voiced out his frustration last month over his lack of playing time.
“I know what my role is,” Fabregas said. “Unfortunately it’s not the one I want. I’m keeping it professional as usual.
“I’m always trying to do my best, in the conditions, playing with the youngsters, playing with the first team, even though this year I still haven’t played with the full, full first team one game.
“But, I’m trying to do what I can. It’s a difficult situation for me, obviously.”
Fabregas is reportedly on his way to Monaco with his former teammate Thierry Henry beckoning him to move to the French club and help save them from relegation.
Sarri was hoping that he will keep Fabregas until the end of the season, and pleaded that he should stay, but Fabregas is said to be excited about the new challenge in France.
“In this position we have only two players, Jorginho and Fabregas, so for me it would be really a problem without Cesc,” Sarri said last month.
“I want him to stay, I don’t know the final decision of Cesc and the club of course.
“But for me it’s very important and if Cesc will go I think that we need to buy another player, and it’s not easy because, technically, Cesc is a very important player.
“And I think that in the market it’s very difficult to find a player with his characteristics.”