Rio Ferdinand and Courtois lead tributes to 'magic' Cesc Fabregas after the Spanish star retires

Rio Ferdinand and Courtois lead tributes to 'magic' Cesc Fabregas after the Spanish star retires

Team-mates of Cesc Fabregas have been quick to praise the Spaniard following his announcement confirming the end of his professional football days.

Fabregas, 36, has quit playing the beautiful game with immediate effect, and will instead focus on coaching, starting with Como B in Italy.

It brings the curtain down on a sterling career of more than two decades, which saw him play for Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League, and LaLiga titans Barcelona.

On his retirement post on Instagram, Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga wrote: 'Legend, muy top', while Barcelona's Marcos Alonso said: 'Best of the best, gracias amigo.'

Former Chelsea player Jody Morris hailed Fabregas as an 'Absolute legend of the game', while Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois - a former colleague at Stamford Bridge - said 'Magic, gracias por todo amigo (thanks for everything friend)'.

Rio Ferdinand commented, saying: 'The assist - beautiful player - great guy', alongside an applause emoji.

Current Chelsea defender Benoit Badiashile, who played with the Spaniard at Monaco, simply wrote 'Legend' alongside an emoji of a magician's hat.

Barcelona, where the central midfielder spent three years between 2011 and 2014, tweeted: 'A legend says goodbye. Thank you, @cesc4official!'

During his spell with the Catalan giants, he helped them to win the FIFA Club World Cup, the Copa del Rey and the LaLiga title in the 2012-12 season.

Como - where Fabregas played the final season of his stellar pro career - commented on his retirement post, shouting: 'THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING LEGEND!'

For his efforts in Europe's elite club competition, the Champions League account also hailed Fabregas with a montage of some of his highlights from the competition.

The UEFA-run tournament said: 'What a player. Congratulations on an incredible career, Cesc Fabregas.'

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