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    • #6525
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      Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has revealed that his relationships with his friends at Barcelona have been affected by the upcoming Champions League tie between his current and former sides.

      The Blues host the Spanish side on Tuesday in the first-leg of their Round of 16 tie.

      It will see Fabregas come up against his former side and the one he readily admits is the team he supports.

      Fabregas remains close with many of the Barcelona players, with the 30-year-old regularly taking holidays with their star player Lionel Messi. He’s also particularly close with Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique with whom he won the World Cup for Spain.

      But in the build-up to the tie, Fabregas has revealed that he’s had less contact with his Barca pals.

      ‘I have big friends, friends that I played with since I was 13 years old,’ he explained. ‘I speak to some of them nearly every day, even when I don’t play against them, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be about football. Probably now the contact is a bit less, probably unconsciously because of the game coming up.

      ‘We are old friends but when we are on the pitch they will try to beat me and I will try to beat them. For me, friendship is a fantastic thing but in football, when you play against each other, it clearly changes.’

      Fabregas has no fears he will be able to put his emotions to one side during the tie.

      ‘Of course, it’s my hometown, it’s the club I supported for all my life, but once you step on the pitch it just goes away. I did it before with Arsenal. I don’t try, it just happens naturally. You want to do well for your club and that’s it.’

      Barcelona are favoured to progress to the quarter-finals but Fabregas believes Chelsea can exploit their weaknesses in defence.

      ‘I think they’re still a great side. You can see with Ernesto Valverde they play a different type of formation, especially when they defend they play more of a 4-4-2. You can see that everyone is committed, everyone is giving their all, defensively and offensively,’ said the 30-year-old, who has also identified one aspect of the game which could prove decisive.

      ‘They are a team that try to put the first pressure very, very high, always working to have the ball, so if we can pass this first phase of their pressure, if we have the cool head to do that and not put ourselves under too much pressure, I think we can hurt them, because they will leave a lot of spaces at the back. We have days now to work on the game and I’m sure the manager will find the best solution.’

      Source: Metro

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