31-year-old Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas admits he is slower now but insists he will never lose his technique.
Fabregas captained Chelsea to a 2-0 FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday at Stamford Bridge in what would be his last appearance in a Chelsea shirt as he closes in on a move to Monaco.
There was plenty of emotion as Fabregas left the pitch after he was replaced by N’Golo Kante in the 85th minute.
Despite reaching his final years of his playing days, Fabregas insists the technique he has shown throughout his playing days will not leave him.
“It is always something that I have had, and it feels like growing up and getting older, it is one of those things that really does never go away because it is technique,” Fabregas told Chelsea’s official website.
“Physicality goes away from all of us unfortunately when you get older, you lose speed, you lose some sharpness, but technique I think is something that always stays with you when you have something, so hopefully it can stay with me for a very long time yet.
“With the penalty, when I stopped in the middle of my run, I saw the goalkeeper going down and I thought that I had it, so yes, it is unfortunate but the day I did 100 caps for Spain I also missed a penalty!
“It feels like it was last week I started playing professionally and now it is over 15 years. It is a long time but for the young players when they start playing, my little advice is to enjoy it every single second because it goes so fast.
“In football you have to be ready every three days, you have to live with criticism, you have to live with everyone saying how good you are – up and downs – and you just think I am young, I have time but time really does fly, so enjoy every single second of it.”
Ahead of Fabregas’ move to Monaco, Eden Hazard has paid tribute to the Spanish playmaker.
“In five years, I can say that I was lucky to play with him,” Hazard said as he paid tribute to Fabregas.
“Since the beginning when he came, we saw it the first year, we won the double together.
“Top guy on the pitch, off the pitch, a great friend of mine.
“Just admiration about this guy. I hope he will have a good future. It’s a bit hard now, but he’s still very good and he will enjoy.”