Arsene Wenger might have opted against bringing Cesc Fabregas back to Arsenal this summer but, as stressed in his recent interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, it’s clear that the now-Chelsea midfielder holds no grudges.
An undoubted club legend, Fabregas notched up 98 assists and 57 goals in 303 games during his eight-season spell at Arsenal, before sealing a £25 million return to hometown club Barcelona in August 2011.
Wenger was expected bring him back to the Emirates Stadium when it emerged that he was looking to leave the Catalan giants for a second time at the end of last season, but the ex-Gunners captain shocked fans after moving to London rivals Chelsea instead.
A clause in his contract even gave Arsenal first-option to re-sign the Spain international, but Wenger admitted that he passed up the chance because he believed there was not room for both him and Mesut Ozil in the same line-up.
Nevertheless, Fabregas still holds the Frenchman in as high regard as ever, labelling him “the best manager in the world” when it comes to developing up-and-coming talent.
The Blues star first moved to north London from Barca in September 2003 at the age of 16, before being integrated into the first-team just a season later, and believes his swift development was all down to how he was tutored under his former boss.
"For a young player, he is the best manager in the world,” he told El Pais. “You fail and he trusts you again. You fail again and he puts his trust in you another time.
“Supporters booed you and he has faith in you. He doesn't mind. He trusts in you and sticks with you. When I was 17 there were probably some people in Arsenal's dressing room that thought: 'Who is this little brat?' But he always trusted me."
Now working under Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, Fabregas admits he couldn’t have foreseen the two sharing the same dressing room in the past, but stresses that he always had great respect for the Portuguese tactician.
“Three years ago, no, but ultimately life and football takes many twists,” he said. “With Mourinho I had a very strong rivalry, going against him, but I never hated him or anything.
“I also had many battles with Terry and other people. And me, I was fine. I never hated Mourinho. Neither Mourinho or anyone. Chelsea was the team that wanted to beat more, like when playing for Barcelona against Madrid, but only that. I did not hate moving.”