COMO, Italy (AP) — Former world and European champion Cesc Fàbregas has joined Italian second-division club Como.
Fàbregas, who won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 as well as two European Championships, was unveiled as a Como player on Monday after signing a two-year contract.
The small club, which is based on the shores of the picturesque Lake Como, finished 13th in its first season back in Serie B last campaign and last played in Italy’s top flight almost 20 years ago.
There were more than 100 fans waiting to welcome Fàbregas, who posed for selfies and signed autographs outside the Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia.
“I come here with the same ambition as always: I want to play, I want to win and take Como to Serie A,” Fàbregas said. “I still have a lot to do in soccer, I have a lot of ambition.”
The 35-year-old midfielder arrives on a free transfer after his contract with Monaco expired in June. He has also played for Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea, winning a slew of trophies in a glittering career.
Fàbregas said his unlikely move came about because of Como CEO — and former Chelsea player — Dennis Wise.
“There were many reasons,” he said. “It was the first time my contract had run out, I wanted an experience which could excite and motivate me, Como has a long-term project and it was exactly what I wanted, but the credit goes to Dennis Wise who made me take this opportunity.
“The next challenge is always the most important. The next two years of my life will be totally dedicated to Como, both on an off the field, what matters to me is the growth of this city.”
Fàbregas will not be the only World Cup winner in Serie B, with former Italy great Gianluigi Buffon still playing in goal for Parma at the age of 44.
“I’m happy to be facing him again on the field, I’ve already scored two goals against him in the past, why not put a third past him,” Fàbregas said with a laugh.
“The fact that there are two world champions shows that Serie B is at a high level.”
Como, which has been declared bankrupt twice in the past 18 years and re-founded, has been owned by UK-based media and entertainment company SENT Entertainment Ltd since 2019.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports