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Cesc Fabregas: Battle commences between Arsenal and Barcelona. Again.

PUBLISHED: 10:59 15 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:03 07 September 2010

MADRID, SPAIN - JULY 12:  Pepe Reina (L) and Carles Puyol (R) of the Spanish national football team put a FC Barcelona shirt on Cesc Fabregas during the Spanish team's parade following their victory in the 2010 FIFA World Cup on July 12, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Daniel Sastre/Getty Images)

MADRID, SPAIN - JULY 12: Pepe Reina (L) and Carles Puyol (R) of the Spanish national football team put a FC Barcelona shirt on Cesc Fabregas during the Spanish team's parade following their victory in the 2010 FIFA World Cup on July 12, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Daniel Sastre/Getty Images)

2010 Getty Images

CESC Fabregas helped inspire Spain to World Cup final glory on Sunday – but knows the battle for his future

really begins now. Fabregas became only the fourth man to be part of a World Cup-winning squad while an Arsenal player on Sunday and said afterwar

CESC Fabregas helped inspire Spain to World Cup final glory on Sunday - but knows the battle for his future

really begins now.

Fabregas became only the fourth man to be part of a World Cup-winning squad while an Arsenal player on Sunday and said afterwards: 'I'm still proud to be an Arsenal player'.

But as the Gunners captain was back in his homeland this week celebrating Spain's first ever World Cup triumph, the clamour for him to return on a permanent basis to Barcelona was growing ever louder.

Barcelona will continue to attempt to prise Fabregas away from the Emirates, but with Arsenal standing firm and having already refused a £29million bid, the tussle over his signature is set to go the distance this summer.

Fabregas's pass set up the 116th minute winner for Andres Iniesta, and despite being restricted to substitute appearances throughout the tournament, the Gunner was still overjoyed at Spain's success.

"All I can say is that this [World Cup win] is for all the Arsenal players and fans, they are a world-class club," said Fabregas. "I am an Arsenal player and I am proud to be. It has been a difficult tournament for me and I didn't get to play so much, but something inside me was telling me this was my chance.

"It has been a hard season, but now it doesn't matter at all. This is one of the best moments of my life.

"I know deep down that Spain winning the World Cup is more important than Cesc Fabregas starting the game or not."

Fabregas played 33 minutes of Sunday's final and the 23-year-old joins France duo Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit (1998) and England's George Eastham (1966) in claiming football's ultimate prize while on Arsenal's books. Gilberto Silva, a winner with Brazil in 2002, joined Arsenal shortly after the tournament.

However, Fabregas's joy meant sorrow for his Emirates team-mate Robin van Persie, and the pair could be seen embracing at the final whistle.

"The first thing I had to do after the final whistle was go to Robin," added Fabregas. "Instead of celebrating with my friends, I wanted to talk to him.

"He has been injured a lot and if it wasn't us he was playing against, it would have been different. I hope he has has his chance again, because he is a great guy and a great leader.


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