We have come here to be the champions: Fabregas


Neustift (Austria) : Cesc Fabregas made clear Spain’s ambition at Euro 2008, where they overcame a key psychological hurdle by beating Italy in the quarter-finals.

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“We have come here to be the champions, not to get through the quarter-finals. We have come here to go down in history among those who have become European champions,” he stressed Monday.

Fabregas scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out that gave Spain a win over Italy Sunday. They will now face Russia in Thursday’s semi-final in Vienna.

The Arsenal player has raised many doubts by his failure to produce with Spain the outstanding performances that he has shown in the English Premier League.

“For many people it has been hard to trust me. It was the chance to show all those people that they can trust me and that at important moments I can get the team going,” Fabregas said. “It meant an awful lot to me.”

The young midfielder, 21, stressed that he feels he has the backing of coach Luis Aragones, despite not being in the team’s starting line-up.

“(Aragones) has trusted me, and it shows: he asked me to take the fifth penalty, which is usually the decisive one,” he noted.

“I just want to make the best possible contribution to the team, be it in the last half-hour or in five minutes. I do not want glory for myself alone, we all deserve it. The coach has me at his disposal whenever he wants,” Fabregas said.

He noted that Spain have a difficult game Thursday against Russia, although they have already beaten the Russians 4-1 in the first round of the Euro.

“If we think that Russia will be the same rival we had in the first round we would be wrong. We would go into the game losing 1-0. We have to keep our feet on the ground,” Fabregas said. “The history we want to make is to get into the group of the teams that have won the title.”

He stressed that Russia is “a very complete team, with good, young players who have a desire to win.

“They remind me of our team because they have the same ambition to play better and to show that they are capable of winning,” Fabregas said of the Russian side.