Tag Archives: fabregas

She"s in safe hands! Fabregas posts photo of newborn daughter after making another Champions League semi-final

She's in safe hands! Fabregas posts photo of newborn daughter after making yet another Champions League semi-final

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

17:09 GMT, 11 April 2013

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UPDATED:

19:09 GMT, 11 April 2013

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas admitted yesterday was the happiest day of his life.

No, it wasn't just the fact he had made it through to an incredible fourth Champions League semi-final, but more the fact his girlfriend Daniella Semaan had given birth to their first child.

Newborn: Fabregas posted this picture of his daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan grasping his finger

Newborn: Fabregas posted this picture of his daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan grasping his finger

Fabregas played 62 minutes last night as his side reached the last four of the Champions League after a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain at the Nou Camp saw them go through on away goals.

And it was the former Arsenal midfielder who made way for Lionel Messi with PSG leading 1-0, with the Argentinian changing the game for the hosts.

Game changer: Fabregas made way for Messi in the 62nd minute, ultimately changing the game

Game changer: Fabregas made way for Messi in the 62nd minute, ultimately changing the game

But even better news was around the corner, and he tweeted: 'Yesterday it was the happiest day of my life, our daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan was born. Both her and Daniella are doing very well.'

The 25-year-old then posted a picture of his newborn daugther grasping his finger, and he'll want to get his hands on his own prize at the end of May, having won just one of the four semi-finals he has been involved in with Arsenal and Barcelona.

Fabregas and his Barcelona teammates will discover who stands in their way of another Champions League final tomorrow, with the draw for the semi-finals taking place in Nyon at 11am BST.

Champion: If Fabregas plays in the last four, it will be his fourth Champions League semi-final appearance

Champion: If Fabregas plays in the last four, it will be his fourth Champions League semi-final appearance

Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas

Barcelona: Cesc Fabregas hat-trick Eric Abidal returns after transplant

Fabregas scores hat-trick but Abidal gets Nou Camp ovation on emotional return

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 6 April 2013

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UPDATED:

08:45 GMT, 7 April 2013

Cesc Fabregas scored the first hat-trick of his career as Barcelona moved closer to the Primera Division title with a 5-0 victory over Real Mallorca, but the main story was the return to action of Eric Abidal after a year out following liver surgery.

The home side were also inspired by
head coach Tito Vilanova, who was on the Nou Camp touchline for the
first time since January after undergoing treatment for cancer.

Abidal's appearance brought the crowd
to their feet, with the Frenchman given a standing ovation when he
replaced Gerard Pique in the 70th minute.

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Eric Abidal

The 33-year-old former France
defender, who was passed fit to return to training with his team mates
last month, is a huge favourite with the Barca fans.

In a pitch-side television interview with Spanish broadcaster Canal Plus, Abidal thanked the cousin who provided part of his liver for the procedure.

'It was a very special moment for me after a year out,' said Abidal, wearing a shirt with 'Merci mon cousin' on the front.

Tribute: Abidal shows a shirt to thank his cousin who donated his liver

Tribute: Abidal shows a shirt to thank his cousin who donated his liver

'I want to thank my cousin as without him I would not be here today. It is a unique moment,' he added.

Abidal's return is well timed as Barca centre backs Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano and full back Adriano are all out injured at a critical stage of the season.

In the game itself, it was Fabregas who commanded the spotlight. In the injury-enforced absence of Lionel Messi, he scored three and
set up two for Alexis Sanchez as Barcelona romped home.

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Main man: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hat-trick as the league leaders romped to victory

Mallorca held their own but it was no surprise when Barcelona made the breakthrough with two goals in two minutes.

Fabregas carried the ball from midfield and played a one-two with Alexis before steadying himself and coolly slotting the ball home across goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.

Mallorca's heads went down and in the 22nd minute they found themselves 2-0 adrift. This time Fabregas cut inside on the left of the area before unleashing a shot which Aouate pushed away from goal only for Alexis to follow up and fire home.

On the scoresheet: Alexis Sanchez was also on target in Barcelona's facile victory

On the scoresheet: Alexis Sanchez was also on target in Barcelona's facile victory

In the 37th minute an intricate passing move ended with Fabregas laying a first-time ball off to Alexis on the right of the area which he reciprocated for Fabregas to drill home.

The former Arsenal captain was involved everywhere and a minute later he provided a superb pass over the top for Alexis, who had got between two defenders, controlling the ball with his right before slotting home with his left.

Fabregas wrapped up his hat-trick seconds after the restart when he collected Iniesta's threaded ball and checked inside the defender before slotting home from close range.

VIDEO: Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina stars as Roman soldier in new film

VIDEO: All hail Reina as Liverpool keeper stars as Roman soldier in new film

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

13:15 GMT, 19 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:35 GMT, 19 March 2013

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina took time out from preparing for crucial World Cup qualifiers to show off his acting skills.

The Spaniard, who is in line to make a rare appearance for the Roja after first choice Iker Casillas was ruled out of the upcoming matches against Finland and France, donned classic Roman garb to star as a soldier in a new short-film called 'Invictus, el correo del Cesar.'

Scroll down for video

Film star: Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina

Film star: Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina

Hot seat: Cesc Fabregas (centre) and David Villa (right) were at the premiere

Hot seat: Cesc Fabregas (centre) and David Villa (right) were at the premiere

The film is directed by Javier Fesser, who has won three Baftas including Best Director and Best Original
Screenplay for 'The Way' in 2008 and Best Live Action Short Film for
'That ritmillo' in 1995.

The film's premiere was held in Madrid on Monday and Spanish stars David Villa, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and Jordi Alba were among the audience.

The film is being bankrolled by insurance company Plus Ultra Seguros, who also use Reina to front their advertising campaigns.

Reina also used his trip to Spain to reiterate his commitment to Liverpool after being linked as a potential replacement for wantaway Victor Valdes.

'[A move to Barcelona] is not in my hands and the rumour mongering is part of that,' Reina told Spanish newspaper AS. 'They're such a great club, but I'm happy at Liverpool.'

Video: Reina the actor

Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina dons Roman gear for advert

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Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0: Match report – Lionel Messi strikes twice to send Catalan giants through

Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0 (4-2 on aggregate): Magical Messi makes mockery of Italian giants and Villa seals the deal

PUBLISHED:

21:34 GMT, 12 March 2013

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UPDATED:

21:58 GMT, 12 March 2013

Lionel Messi put in another astonishing display to lead Barcelona to the quarter final of the Champions League following a dominant display against AC Milan at the Nou Camp.

Two goals down from the first leg, Messi was on target after just five minutes and although Christian Abbiati was at his best to repel the home side, he could do little to stop Messi doubling Barca's lead five minutes before the break.

David Villa – preferred by Jordi Roura to Cesc Fabregas – scored a vital third before Jordi Alba's injury time strike settled the tie.

Magical: Lionel Messi celebrates after vanquishing Milan's first leg advantage

Magical: Lionel Messi celebrates after vanquishing Milan's first leg advantage

Ecstasy: Gerard Pique roars with delight after Messi's second put the teams level on aggregate

Ecstasy: Gerard Pique roars with delight after Messi's second put the teams level on aggregate

Match facts

Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano (Puyol 77), Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro (Adriano 83), Messi, Villa (Sanchez 74).

Subs not used: Pinto, Fabregas, Song, Tello.

Goals: Messi 5, 40, Villa 55, Jordi Alba 90.

AC Milan: Abbiati, Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Constant, Montolivo, Ambrosini (Muntari 60), Flamini (Bojan 75), Niang (Robinho 60), Boateng, El Shaarawy.

Subs not used: Amelia, De Sciglio, Nocerino, Bonera.

Att: 96,000.

Ref: Viktor Kassai (Hungary).

Milan struggled to deal with the
movement of an inspired Barcelona while they failed to create enough
chances with Victor Valdes rarely tested in the home goal.

It took just five minutes for Barcelona to reduce the deficit and take the lead on the night.

Xavi's intricate pass found Messi whose unstoppable curling effort into the top corner gave Abbiati no chance.

It was Messi's 52nd goal of the season
and he almost created one for Andres Iniesta moments later before
Philippe Mexes intercepted.

The home side were in full flow and
after 13 minutes Abbiati was forced into making a fantastic save to tip
Iniesta's effort on to the bar before Messi somehow shot wide following
up.

The stopper had to be in top form four minutes later to acrobatically tip Xavi's stinging effort around the post.

Poise: Messi bent the ball home from the edge of the box to get the scoring underway

Poise: Messi bent the ball home from the edge of the box to get the scoring underway

Great start: Before long Barcelona, thanks to Messi, had wiped out Milan's first leg advantage

Great start: Before long Barcelona, thanks to Messi, had wiped out Milan's first leg advantage

Quarter finalists

Barcelona
Borussia Dortmund
Galatasaray
Juventus
Paris St Germain
Real Madrid
Bayern Munich or Arsenal
Malaga or Porto

Even at this early stage it was a case
of when, not if, they were to draw level on aggregate and the home side
thought they should have had a penalty when Massimo Ambrosini collided
with Pedro inside the box.

However, the visitors survived and
slowly began to deal with the attacking onslaught of the home side,
whilst creating chances of their own.

The best fell to lone striker M'Baye
Niang who raced clear after breaking the Barca offside trap and although
he beat Valdes, his effort hit the post and away from danger.

Under siege: Abbiati pummels the ball away as Barcelona turned up the pressure

Under siege: Abbiati pummels the ball away as Barcelona turned up the pressure

Company: Messi is surrounded by Milan players but still manages to find a way to score

Company: Messi is surrounded by Milan players but still manages to find a way to score

At the double: Messi's second goal squeezes past Abbiati's outstretched left arm

At the double: Messi's second goal squeezes past Abbiati's outstretched left arm

Milan were made to pay just seconds later and again it was Messi who was the scorer.

Ambrosini lost out to Iniesta who fed Messi, who looked to be in an offside position when the ball was played.

The flag stayed down and the Argentinian cut inside and fired past a helpless Abbiati with his lethal left foot.

Pedro picked up a booking before the
end of the half for a foul on Ignazio Abate, meaning he would miss the
quarter-final first leg should they progress, while Mathieu Flamini was
also facing a suspension for a challenge on Pedro.

Barca began the second period much
like the first and after 55 minutes Xavi's pin-point pass eluded a
sliding Cristian Zapata to find Villa, whose left-footed finish gave the
Milan stopper no chance.

Pulling the strings: Xavi (left) was at his influential best as Barcelona dominated possession

Pulling the strings: Xavi (left) was at his influential best as Barcelona dominated possession

Shackled... or not: Milan tried to keep Messi under wraps but failed miserably

Shackled… or not: Milan tried to keep Messi under wraps but failed miserably

Easy does it: Villa steers home the third with panache

Easy does it: Villa steers home the third with panache

In a bid to increase their attacking options, Massimiliano Allegri brought on Robinho and Sulley Muntari for Niang and Ambrosini respectively.

With 15 minutes left goalscorer Villa was replaced by Alexis Sanchez, with Carlos Puyol coming on for Javier Mascherano shortly afterwards.

The home side were thankful for Jordi Alba's intervention after 81 minutes to deny Robinho a simple chance from close range, before Adriano came on for Pedro.

The win was sealed late on when Alba somehow gathered the strength to burst down the left to fire past Abbiati in what was another memorable Barca performance at the Nou Camp.

Watching on: Jordi Roura takes care of Barcelona in the absence of Tito Vilanova

Watching on: Jordi Roura takes care of Barcelona in the absence of Tito Vilanova

In tatters: Abbiati rages as Villa and Co celebrate their third goal of the night

In tatters: Abbiati rages as Villa and Co celebrate their third goal of the night

Perfect show: Villa celebrates in front of Barcelona's delighted fans after his superbly taken goal

Perfect show: Villa celebrates in front of Barcelona's delighted fans after his superbly taken goal

Spotted: Ronnie Wood (of Rolling Stones fame) was seen in the crowd with wife Sally

Spotted: Ronnie Wood (of Rolling Stones fame) was seen in the crowd with wife Sally

We're a team! Barcelona fans' message of unity for their players ahead of the clash

We're a team! Barcelona fans' message of unity for their players ahead of the clash

Gareth Bale to sign for Barcelona says Gerard Pique

We'd love to have Bale at Barcelona, says Catalan giants' defender Pique

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

11:26 GMT, 10 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:51 GMT, 10 March 2013

Gareth Bale has been told he would be a great fit for Barcelona by the Catalan giants’ defender Gerard Pique.

Pique, who has made 29 appearances for Barca this season, said the La Liga leaders’ dressing room is always awash with talk of English football, and Bale is a hot topic.

Bale has scored ten goals in his last eight games for Tottenham, and will face fellow Player of the Year contender Luis Suarez when Spurs travel to Liverpool in the Premier League today.

Perfect fit: Pique said Tottenham's Gareth Bale is an 'unbelievable player' good enough to play for any side

Perfect fit: Pique said Tottenham's Gareth Bale is an 'unbelievable player' good enough to play for any side

And his stellar performances have caught the eye of Barcelona, where Pique is a huge admirer.

‘He is an unbelievable player, a great player – he has with all the conditions to play in the team that he wants to,’ Pique told the BBC.

‘He's doing a great job at Tottenham, and we will see. We want to have all the best players in our team.

Sensation: Bale (centre), tearing through the Inter Milan on Thursday, has scored ten in eight for Spurs

Sensation: Bale (centre), tearing through the Inter Milan on Thursday, has scored ten in eight for Spurs

‘It’s true that maybe, because he’s really quick and with the power he’s got, he fits a bit better at Real Madrid, but he can play here too definitely.

‘The best players can fit in any team, no matter the style.’

Pique, who re-joined boyhood club Barcelona from Manchester United in 2008, said the Premier League is also a reason to poke fun at one of his team-mates.

Hot topic: Pique (left), challenging Cristiano Ronaldo, said English football is always discussed at Barcelona

Hot topic: Pique (left), challenging Cristiano Ronaldo, said English football is always discussed at Barcelona

‘Fabregas loves to talk about Arsenal – but we say they have no chance to win anything this year!’ he said.

Barcelona are currently 14 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid in the Spanish La Liga, but face a difficult task on Tuesday at the Nou Camp to overcome a two-goal deficit against AC Milan in the Champions League.

Aaron Ramsey: It"s taken three years to get over Ryan Shawcross tackle

Ramsey: It's taken me three years to get over THAT tackle by Shawcross

By
Rob Draper

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 16 February 2013

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UPDATED:

03:41 GMT, 17 February 2013

It will soon be three years since Aaron Ramsey was on the receiving end of that tackle from Stoke's Ryan Shawcross, a challenge that broke his leg in a manner which caused onlookers to wince and look away in disgust.

Three long years as far as Ramsey is concerned.

Breaking point: Ramsey tumbles in agony after Shawcross's challenge

Breaking point: Ramsey tumbles in agony after Shawcross's challenge

The unwanted anniversary comes at the
end of this month and although Ramsey was back playing by November
2010, it would be fair to say the injury and the vehemence of the tackle
had a greater effect on the 23-year-old than a mere nine-month absence.

He was on course to be a worldclass
player, his trajectory well ahead of compatriot Gareth Bale, and he
looked to be a potential replacement for Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal.

His comeback season was largely
spent on loan at Nottingham Forest and Cardiff. Last term he recovered
his identity as an Arsenal player.

Only this season has he shown the form that saw him lauded so early in his career.

'It was a really tough thing to go through and I don't wish it upon anybody,' said Ramsey.

'The determination and the
professionalism that you need, all the hours you have to spend in the
gym, it's quite tough. But I've got through that. It's taken me a bit
longer than I would've liked, but I'm happy now where I am, and hoping
to improve and carry on this good form that I'm in.'

His confidence was fractured as well as his leg.

Confidence soaring: Aaron Ramsey's (left) back in form for Arsenal

Confidence soaring: Aaron Ramsey's (left) back in form for Arsenal

'Yes, that's a natural thing,' he
said. 'Confidence is a massive thing and if you're struggling with that
it does reflect in your performances. But I've got that back now. I'm
hungry to keep that shirt and I've proved that with the way I've been
playing of late.

'There has been a good progression
and hopefully I can get back to where I was. That injury did take it out
of me and hopefully that will only have been a minor hiccup when I look
back on my career.'

Bayern Munich in the Champions League will this week provide an acid test, particular after yesterday's exit from the FA Cup.

Ramsey has to establish himself as a guaranteed pick, though 16 starts this season represents progress.

'I'm getting stuck in a lot more,' he
said. 'I'm winning a lot more balls back and reading the game better
and moving the ball quicker, which suit's the way we play. I've had
positive feedback from the boss.'

But he is aware of Arsenal's
eightyear trophy drought – the Champions League represents their last
chance of silverware this season – and of lost opportunities in Europe's
premier competition.

A 4-0 defeat by AC Milan cost them last year despite winning the home leg 3-0.

Before that they could not hold a 2-1 home-leg lead over Barcelona.

He said: 'Hopefully, we can get into a strong position against Bayern in the home leg and we'll be more experienced.'

Chelsea"s David Luiz a summer target for Barcelona

Barcelona keen to sign Luiz but face battle as Chelsea want to keep their boy from Brazil

By
Paul Collins

PUBLISHED:

22:31 GMT, 13 February 2013

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UPDATED:

23:49 GMT, 13 February 2013

Barcelona are keen to revive interest in Chelsea defender David Luiz in the summer.

The Brazil international has struggled for consistency at Stamford Bridge this season.

And Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova is keen to strengthen his defence, despite club captain Carles Puyol only recent signing a new deal at the Nou Camp.

Wanted man: Barcelona are keen to sign David Luiz in the summer

Wanted man: Barcelona are keen to sign David Luiz in the summer

Vilanova met with sporting director
Andoni Zubizarreta, technical secretary Albert Valentn and football co-ordinator Narcis Juli in New York this week where a number of targets were discussed.

Fellow Brazilian Neymar was also on his list, which would allow David Villa to leave.

If he does make the move in the summer
then Luiz could team up with a couple of former Premier League players
in Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas.

Boy from Brazil: Luiz captained the Samba boys against England last week

Boy from Brazil: Luiz captained the Samba boys against England last week

According to Portuguese paper A Bola, Chelsea would be reluctant to sell one of their assets to their European rivals.

But they also suggest that if they were to let him go to Spain, then they would want to recoup a sizeable amount of the 21m transfer fee they forked out for him in 2011.

Another target: Neymar is wanted by Barca

Another target: Neymar is wanted by Barca

Chelsea are third in the Premier League and Luiz and his team-mates face a battle to secure Champions League football next season as they are only one point ahead of fellow London rivals Spurs, and Arsenal an additional four points behind them.

Michu is proving to be one of Spain"s best exports

Bargain buy Michu is proving his worth alongside some of Spain's greats

|

UPDATED:

16:08 GMT, 23 December 2012

Before the start of the season, most fans in England had never heard of him. Now, Swansea City’s Michu is one of the most talked-up, threatening midfielders in the Premier League.

The Spaniard pegged back Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium, making sure Sir Alex knew exactly who he was, and in doing so recorded his 13th goal of the season to earn his side a hard-earned point.

A snip at just 2million, he represents one of the league’s biggest bargains. But where does he stand among his country’s best

The main man: Michu has proved to be a great signing for Swansea so far

The main man: Michu has proved to be a great signing for Swansea so far

Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona
Barcelona’s Xavi turns 33 next month but has just signed a contract extension, keeping him at Camp Nou until 2016.
A true dead-ball specialist and an expert in both expansive and contained possession, he is not the biggest goal-threat, having only crept into double figures once in his career.
Estimated market value: 68million
Games: 17
Goals: 4
Shots: 25

Xavi Hernandez

Andres Iniesta

Barca duo: Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta are two of Spain and Barcelona's best

Andres Iniesta, Barcelona
He smashed in the goal which won Spain the World Cup in 2010 and his humble approach is eternally endearing. An accomplished technician, Iniesta makes up for anything he lacks in physical prowess with intelligence and versatility.
Estimated market value: 61.5million
Games: 12
Goals: 1
Shots: 16

Cesc Fabregas, Barcelona
One of the game’s modern-day greats, Fabregas is a superb passer, an accomplished finisher, was the very heart of Arsenal’s midfield and is proving indispensable for the Primera Liga greats.
He also has nine assists to his name and has dropped into Tito Vilanova’s highly-charged, switch-driven approach with ease.
Signed from Arsenal for 35million
Games: 15
Goals: 5
Shots: 21

Back home: Cesc Fabregas joined Barcelona from Arsenal in 2011

Back home: Cesc Fabregas joined Barcelona from Arsenal in 2011

David Silva, Manchester City
Silky Silva had a slow start with Manchester City, often finding he was easily out-muscled and dispossessed, but since settling with the Premier League champions, he’s been lively and exciting.
A true playmaker, his absences through injury this season have certainly been felt.
Signed from Valencia for 24million
Games: 15
Goals: 1
Shots: 25

Little master: David Silva has proved to be a key player for City

Little master: David Silva has proved to be a key player for City

Fernando Llorente wanted by Tottenham

Spurs line up 7m January swoop for Spain striker Llorente as contract rebel eyes Bilbao exit

|

UPDATED:

08:11 GMT, 9 December 2012

Wantaway: Llorente (right) chats with Cesc Fabregas as Bilbao faced Barcelona last weekend

Wantaway: Llorente (right) chats with Cesc Fabregas as Bilbao faced Barcelona last weekend

Tottenham are considering a January move for Spain and Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente.

The 27-year-old has not featured regularly for the Basque side this season after refusing to sign a new contract last summer.

Llorente last week stated his intention to leave Bilbao when his contract expires in the summer and the club will look to offload him January rather than lose him for free at the end of the season.

And with the World Cup and Euro 2012 winner thought to be available for around 7million next month Tottenham are mulling over a swoop, according to the Sunday Mirror.

Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor are the only natural front men in Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas' squad and he is thought to be keen on adding to his striking options, especially given the recent success enjoyed when playing with two up top.

Frozen out: Llorente refused to sign a new contract last summer

Frozen out: Llorente refused to sign a new contract last summer

The 6ft 5in striker has no shortage suitors and should Spurs press ahead with their interest they are likely to face competition from Juventus.

Former Spurs starlet John Bostock is now on loan at Swindon but insists… I can still reach for the stars

Chased by the world at 15, former Spurs starlet Bostock is now on loan at Swindon but insists… I can still reach for the stars

|

UPDATED:

01:01 GMT, 7 December 2012

At the age of 15 years and 287 days John Bostock became the most wanted teenager in world football.

Ronaldinho's signed boots were sent from Barcelona and shirts worn by Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas arrived in the post as part of the seduction process.

Now: John Bostock is at League One Swindon

Now: John Bostock is at League One Swindon

Then: Bostock at the London Nautical School

Then: Bostock at the London Nautical School

Bostock had just made his debut for
his boyhood club Crystal Palace and everybody wanted a piece of a kid
who learned his skills on the streets of Camberwell, south-east London.

Tottenham snatched him in the summer of 2008, paying 700,000 for his
talent and promising to take him all the way to the very top under
Juande Ramos.

Today, aged
20, he is on loan at League One side Swindon Town, fighting for his
place in Paolo Di Canio's team as they prepare to play in front of 6,000
fans at Doncaster Rovers.

'I'm desperate to be a footballer,' he admitted.

'I am a footballer. I want to be a top footballer. There have been
loads of setbacks at Tottenham, but then there are setbacks for players
at every club.

'I'm only human and I made a decision to leave Palace which I thought was the best for me.

'Palace fans were frustrated, but I didn't want to frustrate them – I'm
still a Palace fan and I went to every home game between the ages of
five and 15.

Bostock made his debut at 15 for Crystal Palace

Promise: John Bostock at Tottenham

Promise: Bostock at Crystal Palace (left) and Tottenham (right)

The lost boys

Freddy Adu – Age 23

Signed a reported $1m deal with Nike as a teenager and joined DC United at 14. He made the MLS All-Star team twice before joining Benfica and making his full USA debut. Loaned to Monaco, Belenenses, Aris and Caykur Rizespor before signing for Philadelphia Union.

Nii Lamptey – Age 37

Hailed by Pele as 'my natural successor' and signed for Anderlecht at 16. Scored on his Ghana debut and moved to PSV Eindhoven and then Aston Villa in 1994. He was cheated by his agent and, after playing for clubs all over the world, he returned to Ghana and now runs a football academy.

Florent Sinama Pongolle – Age 28

The U17 World Championship player of the tournament joined Liverpool in 2001 from Le Havre and scored four league goals. Moved to Recreativo de Huelva, then Atletico Madrid and Sporting Lisbon. He now plays for Russian side FC Rostov.

'Sometimes I look back and think what might have been, but I was a young player. I was hungry and I wanted to develop.'

He made a handful of Europa League appearances when Harry Redknapp
replaced Ramos, but his career has never taken off at Tottenham.

When he has the ball at his feet he
is still magical, but he has never been given the chance to thrive in
Tottenham's first team.

'When I joined Spurs I wanted to turn into the players I was playing
alongside – Berbatov, Modric, Palacios and Bale,' he added. 'They were
internationals and I aspired to be like them.

'They were some of the best players in
Europe and I was just a young man learning my trade. Before I left
Palace there was a lot of interest from some top clubs, but I was just a
young kid kicking a ball around and I tried to ignore the distractions.

'I was fortunate to have a good grounding from my parents, so that has helped.'

At times his life has been on warp-speed.

He spent the first year at Spurs living with a family near the club's
old training ground in Chigwell before he later shared an apartment with
his sister.

Bostock married when he was still a
teenager and that relationship has helped the devout Christian through
some difficult periods.

Euro test: Bostock in action against Dinamo Zagreb

Big match: Bostock made his competitive debut against Dinamo Zagreb in UEFA Cup

Chasing the dream: Bostock has also been on loan at Hull, Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford

Chasing the dream: Bostock has also been on loan at Hull, Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford

'Sometimes Harry (Redknapp) would call me into his office and tell me
where he wanted me to improve,' he added. 'I've been around for so long
that people think I'm much older, maybe 23 or 24 – but I'm not. I'm a
student of the game and I'm hungrier than ever.

'As a young player, when I made my Palace debut I dreamed of becoming a great player and playing at the highest level.

'I've had to dig really deep in the past four years and it's been a really challenging period of my life.

'There have been highs and lows, but
without challenges or resistance you can't improve. I feel as though I
am coming through.'

As part of his development strategy he was sent on loan to Hull, Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford.

It was a steep learning curve at first, adapting to the change of
environment after training with seasoned internationals at Tottenham
every day.

National service: Bostock training with England U19's

National service: Bostock training with England U19's

'This is the first time I have been on loan and been given the chance to play centre midfield, which is my best position,' he added.

'Playing football in League One is a totally different environment. I've had to adapt when the ball is up in the air a lot on a freezing cold day and develop other parts of my game.

'People want me to use my skill in the right areas and every manager I have worked under has tried to make me a more complete player. I have worked with some great people. Neil Warnock gave me my debut against Watford, Micky Hazard and Gary Issot at Palace worked with me between 13 and 16.

'Tim Sherwood, Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey all helped me at Spurs and Paolo Di Canio is a Premier League legend – he loves the game.'

After the challenge of competing for a place at Tottenham, Bostock is ready for the next one.