West Bromwich Albion
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details
Real Betis
7:00 PM UTC
Game Details

Fabregas pictured wearing a Barcelona shirt

Arsenal fans were subjected to an unwelcome sight during Spain's World Cup celebrations as Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique ambushed Cesc Fabregas, pulling a Barcelona shirt over the head of the Gunners captain.

Duggan: Campeones end 80-year wait
• Cesc proud to be at Arsenal
• Live transfer blog: July 13
• Forum: Should Cesc stay or go?

As Spain paraded the World Cup trophy in front of a reported 200,000 supporters on Monday night, goalkeeper Jose Reina - the master of ceremonies for the occasion - called Fabregas to the front of the stage.

Puyol and Pique, both of whom play for Barcelona and have been vocal in their desire to see Fabregas move to Camp Nou, then crept up behind the midfielder and draped him in the colours of his childhood club. Reina then pronounced Fabregas "the future of Barcelona", before the midfielder took the shirt off.

Fabregas' father insists nothing should be read into the stunt and promised his son did not intend to offend Arsenal.

Francesc Fabregas told COM Radio: "It was a day of celebration and anything goes. If anyone misinterprets it, they have to see that it was part of a celebration. Cesc has it very clear what Arsenal has been and is for him. He is super grateful to them and it has never crossed his mind to do something wrong towards them."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has maintained he has no wish to sell Fabregas, despite the player informing the club he wishes to return to Catalunya, and Barcelona failed with a €35 million offer prior to the start of the World Cup.

Fabregas dedicated Spain's World Cup victory to the Gunners and said "I am an Arsenal player and proud." However, his use of the past tense was noticeable when, in a separate statement, he said, "I am really proud to have been an Arsenal player."

Pique and Puyol's stunt came towards the conclusion of Spain's day of celebration following their success in South Africa.

Around a million supporters cheered the squad during an open-top bus parade through the streets of Barcelona after the players had met King Juan Carlos and President Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero.

When the squad reached their final destination, captain Iker Casillas said: "I don't know what to say, only that I'm delighted to be here with you. We (the players) have achieved the dream that we've all had since we were small."

Coach Vicente del Bosque added: "It's not only winning but how you win, and that's what these players have done, they are an example to all. Thanks for all the support you've sent to us in South Africa, you are also world champions."

The man who scored the winning goal in the final, Andres Iniesta, was spotted holding a toy octopus in tribute to Paul, who famously predicted all of Germany's results correctly, as well as Spain's triumph over Netherlands.

He said: "Thanks to the octopus we are champions. I only want to say that you should be proud of this group. They're the best. I'm very proud to be part of them."


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.