Fabregas is an important player for Barcelona, says Xavi

The former Arsenal ace has struggled to command a first-team place at Camp Nou of late, but his team-mate believes he will grow in stature as the season wears thin
Xavi has assured his "important" Barcelona team-mate Cesc Fabregas that he will have a big role to play for the club across the course of the season.

The midfielder enjoyed a blistering start to his return to Camp Nou last year, but lost form towards the tail end of the campaign due to a 'mental block' and difficulty in adapting to then-coach Pep Guardiola's methods.

However, under Tito Vilanova, he has seen his place further threatened by the recent arrival of former Arsenal colleague Alex Song, but the playmaker insists his compatriot remains a valuable asset to the club.

"Cesc is important for the team," he told AS.

"He will make a difference over the course of the season and score some vital goals."

The 32-year-old then discussed Barca's slender 1-0 victory over Valencia on Sunday, courtesy of Adriano's first-half strike, and was delighted to have overcome such stern opposition

"I do not play for man-of-the-match awards," he continued. "I do so to win with the team, and we did.

"We have earned three very important points. It was not a great game, but we got a good result against a strong team."