Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas says he does not have a point to prove in his side’s battle with Barcelona on Tuesday.
Fabregas will lead his side out against his former club in the second leg of the round-of-16 Champions League tie, knowing all the Gunners need to do is avoid defeat to ensure progression after they won 2-1 in a brilliant first-leg match at the Emirates Stadium on February 16.
Amazingly, the match will be Fabregas’ first at the Nou Camp despite the fact he spent six years with the Catalan giants. But despite all the hype surrounding his first appearance at the famous stadium, the Spaniard played down the personal significance of the match and preferred to focus on his team.
“I am not here to shut up comments or to beat anyone specifically or whatever. I am just here to win for Arsenal Football Club,” Fabregas said.
“For all my connections with Barca, tonight is all about Arsenal. All I will be concentrating on is how to help Arsenal through to the quarter-finals. It is something that I want as badly as any Arsenal fan.”
“It is about us proving that we have what it takes to beat the best of the best. Sometimes I don’t understand these reactions or comments about people saying I want this or I feel this. I want to win for Arsenal and that’s it. That’s easy for me.”
Fabregas denied the match was held more occasion for him, and re-iterated his desire to lead Arsenal into the last eight of the most prestigious European club competition in world football.
“I don’t put anything extra in my head because I play against Barcelona in the Nou Camp. It is a special game for everyone because it is a special stadium and we play against a good team and that’s it. It’s one more game that we want to win,” he said.
“We want to do well for the club and we want to get through to the next stage of the Champions League. There is nothing more to it than that – we just want to go through and get to the quarter-final.”
Fabregas’ manager, Arsene Wenger, also spoke to the press on Tuesday and confirmed that Dutch striker Robin van Persie would still need to undergo a fitness test before being named in the final squad.
Van Persie injured ligaments in his knee just nine days ago in the Gunners’ 2-1 Carling Cup final loss to Birmingham and was expected to miss up to four weeks, but has made a surprisingly speedy recover.
“He’s here as a player who will have a test,” Wenger said.
“I personally would like him to play but he has to be 100 percent. He’s made quick progress in the last few days. When I spoke (on Monday morning) it was unlikely he would travel. But he was keen to have a go.”