The Spaniard, who now plays for Monaco in Ligue 1, spent eight years with the Gunners, during which time he was present throughout perhaps the club’s greatest successful spell, when they went undefeated in the Premier League in 2003/04.
Under Arsene Wenger, the 34-year-old played a key role in helping Arsenal win the 2005 FA Cup, reach the 2006 Champions League final, and cement their reputation as one of the most aesthetically appealing teams to watch, thanks to their pass-heavy style of play.
Fabregas faced a slew of difficult midfield opponents during his time in the Premier League, having also played for Chelsea between 2014 and 2019, but he claims Liverpool’s former captain forced him to step up his game the most.
One fan asked Fabregas who the finest player he had faced while at Arsenal was during a Q&A on his own Twitter account, to which Fabregas replied, “Steven Gerrard.”
When the topic was given to him last year, the Spaniard chose Gerrard ahead of Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes as his toughest test in the Premier League.
He told Match Of The Day’s Top 10 podcast in July 2020: “If I have to say one – and I really enjoyed playing against – I would say, Steven Gerrard.
“He was physically the most difficult opponent to handle. He was the box-to-box player, he could be on his right or left, shooting from the outside of his boot. He was a machine.”
Fabregas also told Rio Ferdinand during an appearance on The Locker Room podcast that he hugely admires Scholes and models his game off the Manchester United legend more than Gerrard or Lampard, despite his appreciation for the former.
“Since I was little I had this thing about Steven Gerrard,” Fabregas told Ferdinand.
“He was someone in my hometown when we used to watch the highlights of the Premier League he used to score these screamers from outside the box, and running into space, and he used to be everywhere and I used to look up to him a lot.
“In terms of the way I play and the way that I see football, it is Paul Scholes.
“What a player. He loved one-twos, he was right, he was left, he always demanded the ball.”
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