Cesc Fabregas revealed that he went to AS Monaco well aware of the daunting challenge that awaited him in January.
Upon finding himself frozen out of the Chelsea squad under new manager Maurizio Sarri, Fabregas chose to end his four and a half year stay at Stamford Bridge during the winter transfer window.
The Spanish midfielder has enjoyed a glittering career that’s also seen him impress at Arsenal and Barcelona, while picking up 12 major trophies at club level.
Fabregas was also a member of Spain’s golden generation team, which won two European championships and the World Cup between 2008 to 2012.
However, for the very first time in his career, Fabregas chose to play for a club that wouldn’t be competing for any titles in French side Monaco.
The 31-year-old chose to reunite with his former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry, who was in charge at the time, in January in an attempt to help save Monaco from suffering relegation from Ligue 1 this season.
While Henry was soon replaced by his predecessor Leonardo Jardim, Fabregas has enjoyed a relatively smooth start in the principality with just three defeats in his opening 11 games.
Therefore, Monaco have moved up to 16th in Ligue 1 and, critically, seven points above the relegation zone heading into the final eight fixtures.
“I knew where I was getting to. At the beginning I was a little bit unsure about the situation,” Fabregas told the Ligue 1 show.
“As you well said, it’s not the same to be always competing for trophies and to be fighting for relegation.
“Thierry believed in me a lot, Vadim [Vasilyev] believed in me a lot, and I wanted… you know, I’m not afraid of challenges. Of course, I will not take stupid challenges.
“But it’s a challenge I believe I could have a very positive impact in. And I just tried to do my best to be honest.
“I’m ambitious, but at the same time, I love to find new situations in my career. I am one of these guys that sometimes when I’m very comfortable in a place or I’m a long time in a place I like new challenges.
“I like new things to try and to prove myself all over again and to be able to do that, you know, at my age – I’m not saying I’m old but obviously I’ve been playing for 16 years, I’ll be 32 next month, you know when you’ve been always at the top winning, winning, winning, competing – and then to come here, yes, I believe not many people would understand why I do it.
“But I can always say when I’ve finished that I’ve been able to compete in different situations. Fighting for the World Cup, to Champions League to Premier League to fighting not to go down and actually have a positive on the team in a small amount of time to be able to save ourselves.
“So yeah, I’m not afraid of challenges because I think it gives you so much as a person… not only as a player… because I’m a competitor… and people, some people may not agree or see the way I see it, but, definitely, for me, it was a big challenge and one that I really wanted to do in the end.”
The two-time Premier League winner has scored one goal in his 11 appearances for Monaco.