Returning to Barcelona
after eight years at Arsenal has thrown up new challenges for
Cesc Fabregas and the Spain midfielder said putting up with
prankster Gerard Pique on a daily basis has been one of them.
Fabregas and Pique came through Barca's youth academy
together before heading to Arsenal and Manchester United
respectively and the pair are now key members of the hugely
successful Barca and Spain squads.
An avid user of Twitter to showcase his quirky sense of
humour, Pique has a reputation as the clown in the dressing
His favourite trick is hiding his team-mates' belongings and
he once caused Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes to be fined by
the club for arriving late at a training session because he
could not find his gloves.
Pique was up to his usual antics at Euro 2012 when he ran
around the pitch at a training session with only one boot on and
Fabregas joked in El Pais daily on Wednesday that it had taken
time to get used to him again.
"It's one of the things you have to adapt to," the paper
quoted him as saying. "It's not easy, it's been tough."
Fabregas has been under the microscope even more than usual
at Euro 2012 since Spain coach Vicente del Bosque opted to
deploy him as a roving forward in Sunday's Group C opener
against Italy and started without a recognised striker.
The 25-year-old netted Spain's equaliser in a 1-1 comeback
draw and it remains to be seen whether Del Bosque uses the same
tactic for Thursday's match against Ireland.
On a more serious note, Fabregas told El Pais that people
were wrong to think returning to his boyhood club had been easy.
He started his first season back at Barca with a bang but
his form tailed off towards the end of the campaign and Pep
Guardiola left him out of several key matches.
After shaking off a hamstring strain sustained just before
Euro 2012, he has looked sharp and hungry in training and his
goal against Italy came after a trademark surging run into the
"It has been a radical change in my life and like it or not
it is hard to adapt," he said.
"I went from playing with complete freedom of movement to
Barcelona where the game is more positional," he added.
"It was a challenge and I went through a period where I was
very worried about it."
Spain take on Ireland in Gdansk on Thursday after Italy meet
group leaders Croatia, who beat Ireland 3-1 on Sunday.
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