Bacary Sagna “was surprised” to see Cesc Fabregas’ comments that he felt only two of his Arsenal teammates were at his “level” when he decided to leave the club.
After eight years at Arsenal – with only an FA Cup and Community Shield to show – Fabregas swapped north London for Barcelona in 2011 before returning to the Premier League in 2014 with Chelsea.
And speaking to the Arsecast podcast, Fabregas revealed how his team-mates at the Emirates Stadium helped him make his decision to leave as they weren’t at his “level”.
Fabregas said: “I was the captain, I always felt so much pressure on myself. I had to lead this team to win something. I gave everything. Sometimes, I used to go home after we lost and I used to cry, I used to suffer, I used to spend sleepless nights suffering.
“And then you lose a game, you’re in the bus like this, destroyed, and then you hear some players laughing, thinking about where they will be going out later.
“This was going on for a few years. Yeah, we were playing beautiful football and I enjoyed that side of things.
“But I was putting pressure on myself to lead, to do everything, and at one point I felt kind of lonely. Especially in the last two or three years, I felt Robin and Samir were the only players who were at my level mentally and technically.
“It’s not an arrogant thing to say, it’s how I felt at that time.”
However, Sagna thinks Fabregas’ comments were a “bit harsh” and claims that his former team-mate did not always play well for Arsenal.
Sagna told Goal: “I was surprised to read this. From him I was surprised because he was supposed to be one of the leaders of the team, he was one of the great prospects and as a leader and a true player, you don’t speak like that about your club.
“So I was surprised because he is a nice guy, he’s still a nice guy, this doesn’t change anything. But I was kind of surprised.
“Arsenal made him so saying that some players were not at his level was a bit harsh because I’m not sure out of all the seasons he was playing at the club, he was always an exemplary player.
“At that time the press was talking about him not running enough or tracking back. So other players could have said ‘you should be running more or doing more’.
“If you look at Liverpool today, all of them are running. This is a team. And maybe, because we didn’t have the right spirit at that time we didn’t make this little extra push, or make that little extra run to track players, maybe this is the reason we didn’t win.
“Obviously in the team, we all have different levels. Some will be good physically, others will be good technically, but this is not a reason to speak in that way about other players.
“I don’t agree with that statement. It’s his opinion and he’s right to have an opinion, but we all have good moments and bad moments in our career and I’m not sure he always had great moments with Arsenal.”