Cesc Fabregas is ready to have talks to extend his stay at Chelsea, but has also revealed his ambitions to play in a non-European league before he retires.
The 31-year-old has won almost everything there is to win in European club football and on the international stage, but believes he still has plenty to offer Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.
He started in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over MOL Vidi in the Europa League on Thursday, but has yet to feature in the Premier League under Sarri following a recent injury and his contract is due to expire at the end of the season.
“I’m very open about it,” Fabregas said at Stamford Bridge following the MOL Vidi victory regarding his future. “To be the honest, the club has not said anything.
“At the end of the day, I have eight months left and at the moment I’m gone. But I’d love to stay at the club. I’ve been very happy for the last four years and a half, we’ve had great success, won many things.
“I think I have a good understanding with the fans and players. I feel I still have a lot of football left in me, but it is now up to the club.
When asked if he saw himself ending his career at Stamford Bridge though, Fabregas said he’d likely play away from Europe first before calling it quits.
“No, I don’t think so. Probably in a few years I’d like to go away from Europe and experience something different at the later stage of my career. But, for now, I still feel really good.”
Pedro has been the only one of Chelsea’s senior stars to renew their contract this season, with Fabregas joining David Luiz and Gary Cahill in having their deals run into their final year.
Goal revealed this week that Fabregas is looking at contingency plans should he not renew his Chelsea contract, but that he is hopeful of earning an extension by impressing Sarri.
Part of his efforts to earn a new deal include adapting to a new role that sees him deputise for Jorginho, who arrived over the summer with his manager from Napoli in a £57 million ($75m) deal.
Fabregas spoke of his joy at playing for Sarri, and wanted to send a message to his manager that he can also be used in a more attacking role.
“I just came back from a difficult injury, I’m still sometimes feeling it a little bit,” he said after suffering a setback against Manchester City in the Community Shield. “I felt I could have helped in the West Ham game and Liverpool in different types of things but the manager tried another option and I respect that.
“It is difficult to be sitting there and not helping the team when you know you could add something. This is part of the game, it’s still early for me. For me, this is pre-season, I’ve only been with the team for two weeks after seven or eight weeks out so it’s just there, it’s my second game in this position and I feel really good.
“I like it, everything goes through me. This is what I like. I feel sensations under Sarri that I never thought I would feel again. To be honest, touching the ball 100 times, all the play going through me or Jorginho is a very important role. I’m learning it, I’m very passionate about it as it’s very interesting.
“The way [Sarri] sees football is something that maybe in the future if I become a coach I think I’ll do something very similar to what he does. It’s what I like and how I see football. I’m learning a lot from him, it’s really interesting how he works and I’m really looking forward to working for a long time with him.”
Fabregas then echoed a sentiment about Sarri that was shared by Ross Barkley earlier in the week.
“I wish he came a bit earlier to be honest,” Fabregas said of Sarri. “It’s a little bit late now in my career. Definitely I’m very happy with him.”
Meanwhile, Fabregas has been left out of the Spain squad once again for the upcoming games against Wales and England, despite Luis Enrique taking over as coach after a disappointing 2018 World Cup.
Fabregas was pivotal to his country’s wins in the 2008 and 2012 European Championship, as well as the 2010 World Cup but he is now out of favour, having not been called up since Euro 2016.
Still, the former Barcelona midfielder refused to proclaim his retirement from international football and hopes to be one day recalled to La Roja.
“It’s difficult. First of all I need to play here more than what I do,” Fabregas concluded. “Then we will see what happens. New coach, new opportunity but definitely I need more game time.”
Sarri will likely recall Jorginho to his starting line-up for Fabregas, as the Blues face Southampton on Sunday ahead of the upcoming international break.