Cesc Fabregas is a bona fide Premier League legend.
At Arsenal, Fabregas was more of an attack-minded midfielder who scored goals for fun, while at Chelsea he was more of a deep-lying playmaker that dictated the tempo of games.
The former Barcelona man excelled in both roles and much of his success in them was down to his supreme footballing intelligence.
Few players to have graced the Premier League have read the game better than Fabregas, who was capable of dismantling a team with one swing of his right boot.
It’s speed of thought that often beats speed of feet in professional football, as Fabregas himself proved during a training drill at Chelsea a few years back.
Fabregas vs Willian & Pedro in speed drill
Now, in a drill that measured speed and agility, you’d think Willian and Pedro – two wingers renowned for being quick – would walk all over Fabregas, right?
Well, you’d be wrong.
The drill required each player to pick up cones and place them on a pole, the quickest to collect them all was declared the winner, pretty simple.
So Fabregas decided to collect the cones in an order which meant that he didn’t have to change direction drastically or cover ground unnecessarily – which, of course, saved him valuable time.
Video: Fabregas comfortably beat Willian & Pedro
When Cesc Fabregas proved that intelligence beats speed 👏 pic.twitter.com/ogyMJutf8Y
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 26, 2019
Well played, Cesc. Physical speed is very, very important in football, but it’s not the be all and end all.
Willian seemed a little aggrieved that he’d been defeated in the mind over matter battle by Fabregas, but the Brazilian was beaten fair and square by his quick-thinking teammate.
There was one man who Fabregas struggled to get the better of in training, though; Lionel Messi.
“There’s one story which stays with me, others I can’t tell you,” Fabregas previously told TyC Sports.
“I had to defend against him and you know he’s going to the left, and he does, but he still makes me fall to the floor.”
Don’t worry, Cesc, we’re 100% certain that countless other suffered the same fate in training at the hands of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.