Date:Sunday February 18 2007
Blackburn Rovers boss Mark Hughes was left fuming after Arsenal's star midfielder Cesc Fabregas showed a blatant lack of respect towards him.
The display that Rovers put on against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday lunchtime wasn't pretty but it sure as hell was effective and all the Rovers players and Mark Hughes deserve credit for it. We went there with a game plan and it worked. We aren't the first and we won't be the last to try this against such a quality opponent, it just so happens we succeeded in doing what NO OTHER English club had done before this season and prevented Arsenal from scoring!
After the game Fabregas is reported as saying "Did you really play for Barcelona?" to Rovers boss Mark Hughes, which led to a run in with the young Spaniard.
When explaining what happened Hughes said:
"He came off the pitch and asked me if I had played for Barcelona and when I said that, yes I did, he said something to the effect of 'that wasn't Barcelona football, was it ?'
"I thought the boy showed disrespect to somebody who has won a lot more FA Cups than him."
Fabregas is a world class footballer, and a footballer I love watching and have done ever since he was a kid. When he was first breaking into the Arsenal team I could see how awesome he was going to be; remember a Charity Shield (or is it "Community Shield!") match some years ago against Manchester United I think in which I he got a start, at least played some part as a 15 or 16-year-old and he looked the business. I remember so wanting him to score and he almost did, from that moment on I took a great interest in his career.
My admiration for him as player has not and will not alter but he has lost a lot of the respect I held for him. Does he, any Arsenal, arguably Rovers fans for that matter care? Probably not...
I must add that Sparky did add that Fabregas had later apologised.
Before this spills over into a "war or words" between Arsenal and Rovers fans, which it could I just want to say I hope it doesn't. Fabregas is still young and maybe didn't think before acting. He must have been frustrated after the game and from an Arsenal point of view you can understand I guess but we came to do a job and did it superbly. Someone of Mark Hughes' standing in the British, in fact the European game deserves more respect than he got, this is all I'm trying to highlight here.
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Date:Sunday February 18 2007
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