Cesc Fabregas: I want to start games
Cesc Fabregas has again voiced his frustration at not being a regular part of the starting XI for Barcelona's biggest games.
• Tomas: Barca show superiority
Fabregas has won plenty of trophies and played many games since returning to the club from Arsenal in August 2011, but has not established himself as an automatic first choice for the major clashes.
And after scoring twice and providing an assist as he returned to the starting line-up in Sunday's 4-1 Primera Division win at Real Betis, he told Canal Plus he had wanted to make a statement because he hated being left out.
"Today was time to say that I am here," Fabregas said. "I know the boss has a starting team in his head, and I am not in it. I played a good game against Celta, and then I was left out for most of the two games [against Espanyol and AC Milan], and that really messes you up. Today I wanted to vindicate myself so that does not happen again."
Fabregas played most of the game in Lionel Messi's usual 'false nine' position after the Argentine had been withdrawn with another thigh muscle problem, which leaves him facing up to eight weeks out on the sidelines.
He said Messi needed a proper rest, recalling that he had suffered similar injuries, which had taken around 18 months to clear up properly.
"[Messi] must stop for the time he needs, and he needs that explosiveness to stand out," Fabregas said. "You think you are fine, but then you are not. I had that injury, and it is a very annoying injury. He must rest for the time he needs, or it will not heal properly."
Fabregas was substituted after hurting his knee while scoring his second goal, but suggested the knock was not too big a problem.
"It is not so serious," he said. "I had to rest it as I had an injury there three years ago and I did not want to take a risk. As the match was beyond Betis, I preferred to to be subbed out."
Blaugrana coach Gerardo Martino said Messi was frustrated by his succession of thigh muscle problems, adding: "This is the third time he has [had such an injury], and we do not know how that will affect his head.
"I do not know much about medicine, so it will be up to the doctors. I stick closely to what they say. Leo began to walk over to the bench and said he had some problems. The only thing he wanted was to come off the pitch as soon as possible. The first thing is to know the scale of the injury and then to recover."
Martino said being without Messi would be an issue for any side, but that Barca boasted a host of other stars including Neymar, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.
"We have the best player in the world, but we also have four more who are among the six or seven best in the world, although that does not mean it is OK that the best in the world has been injured," he added.