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'Van Persie and Nasri were the only players on my level' - Fabregas explains decision to leave Arsenal in 2011

5:30 PM SGT 25/3/20
Robin van Persie Samir Nasri Cesc Fabregas Arsenal
The Spaniard says the pressure on his shoulders became too much to bear towards the end of his time at Emirates Stadium

Cesc Fabregas has revealed why he left Arsenal nine years ago, admitting to crying after defeats while naming Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri as the only players on his level "mentally and technically" at the time.

Arsene Wenger managed to snap up Fabregas as a youngster from Barcelona's famed La Masia academy in 2003, and he became the youngest player to appear for the first team in the club's history a month after his arrival in north London.

The ex-Spain international went on to feature in 303 games across all competitions for the Gunners, becoming a favourite among supporters for his exceptional passing range, fierce passion and combative style in the middle of the park.

He was, however, unable to inspire tangible success in the form of trophies, with a solitary FA Cup triumph the only piece of major silverware he picked up during his nine-year stay at Arsenal.

Fabregas ended up returning to Barcelona in 2011, and later made his way back to the Premier League with Chelsea before moving to France, where he currently plies his trade with Monaco.

The 32-year-old has now opened up on his decision to walk away from Emirates Stadium, insisting he started to feel "lonely" at a time when Arsenal were no longer competing with the elite on domestic or European fronts.

"I was the captain, I always felt so much pressure on myself," Fabregas told Arseblog . "I had to lead this team to win something. I gave everything. Sometimes, I used to go home after we lost and I used to cry.

"I used to suffer, I used to spend sleepless nights suffering. And then you lose a game, you're in the bus like this, destroyed, and then you hear some players laughing, thinking about where they will be going out later.

"This was going on for a few years. We were playing beautiful football and I enjoyed that side of things but I was putting pressure on myself to lead, to do everything and at one point I felt kind of lonely.

"Especially in the last two or three years, I felt Robin and Samir were the only players - it's not an arrogant thing to say, it's how I felt at that time - were the players who were at my level mentally and technically.

"Many things came in my head, I have to admit I was a bit empty, I was drained mentally, physically, in my soul knowing I'm giving everything, knowing a few signings the club could have made but didn't happen.

"Seeing some behaviours from certain players or something like this made me feel I wanted to check something else. If it was not because of that, I would not have left Arsenal at that time."