16th August 2011, that was the day Francesc Fabregas left Arsenal for boyhood club Barcelona. It was supposed to be a dream move that saw Fabregas extend the legacy of world class deep-lying playmakers at Barcelona; continuing what his then manager and idol Pep Guardiola as well as Xavi Hernandez had started.
However, Fabregas' time at Barcelona has been dogged by several issues beyond his control. He has played well during his time at Barcelona, but he has nonetheless suffered the ire of Barcelona fans looking for a scapegoat for their drop from the best team in the world, to arguably being the 3rd best in La Liga.
The major problem is that Barcelona have yet after three seasons found a place for him. Brought as a deep-lying playmaker in the mold of Xavi, his path to that position was blocked by, well, Xavi. With Xavi and Iniesta being the best partnership in world football at the time and with Busquets offering greater protection to the back four, Fabregas has been deployed all over the place, mainly as one of the three forwards - a position that does not suit him.
The second problem is that Fabregas is not Xavi's heir as was once thought. Initially a deep-lying playmaker, Fabregas was moved into a free-role right behind the main striker during his latter years in Arsenal and it was then he exploded into goalscoring form, cementing his status as a world class talent. Early experiments to slowly integrate Fabregas into Xavi's role was littered with mixed results as Fabregas has seemingly lost the ability (or maybe he never really had it) to dictate the game as well as Xavi. This caused Xavi's true heir, Thiago Alcantara, to leave as a result of his release contract being triggered by a lack of game time to Bayern Munich.
Finally, paying £35 million for a player that has yielded mixed results - especially one that was their's to begin with has been too much for Barcelona fans. As Barcelona's form has dipped considerably towards the back end of the season, fans have booed him. Consequentially, respected journalist Guillem Balague has had this to say: