Cesc Fabregas has opened up on the moment he knew he belonged at Arsenal – and it came during a match against Manchester United.
The Spaniard left Barcelona's academy in 2003 to join Arsene Wegner's set-up in North London at the tender age of 16.
In a foreign country and away from his parents, Fabregas was taken in by a family who had successfully applied to house Arsenal's academy stars.
Paul, Mark and Noreen Davies were tasked with looking after Fabregas and Philippe Senderos and made sure the teenagers felt at home by filling the house and back garden with footballs.
But it was while watching the infamous 0-0 draw between his new club and Manchester United – dubbed the 'Battle of Old Trafford' – that Fabregas knew Arsenal was the right fit for him.
"The first game I watched after I moved in was the Man United vs Arsenal game from 2003 where Ruud van Nistelrooy missed the penalty,” Fabregas told The Athletic .
What are your memories of the 'Battle of Old Trafford'? Tell us below.
“I watched it with Paul, Mark and Noreen at the house, and I couldn’t believe it. The amount of shouts, the passion they showed for the game and for Arsenal. It was unbelievable.
"I found that feeling very soon with Arsenal. I knew very, very quickly how special that club is. They made sure I understood from day one.”
In the Premier League classic, Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira was sent off for a second bookable offence, Van Nistelrooy missed his last-minute penalty and a full-time brawl led to players being fined.
Meanwhile, Fabregas began training with the Gunners' first-team stars and went on to develop into one of the finest central midfielders in the Premier League.
The World Cup winner added: "I wasn’t homesick because I knew what I was there to do.
“I was training with the first team from day one. I just loved it. Playing with the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Dennis Bergkamp… I just loved it.”
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