Cesc relishing Camp Nou bow
Cesc Fabregas is relishing the prospect of playing at Camp Nou for the first time as he prepares to lead Arsenal against Barcelona.
Last Updated: 08/03/11 7:40pm
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas says he is relishing the prospect of playing at Camp Nou for the first time against Barcelona.
The Spanish ace is expected to run out for the Gunners in Tuesday night's UEFA Champions League last-16 clash after shrugging off a hamstring knock.
Fabregas has never played at Barca's legendary stadium in competitive match, leaving his boyhood club for Arsenal before he got the chance.
And the 23-year-old is expecting a thriller as Arsene Wenger's men bid to build on a 2-1 aggregate advantage and reach the quarter-finals.
"I've never played in the Nou Camp before and this will be one of the most exciting nights of my career," said Fabregas in The Sun.
"To finally have the chance to take to the pitch at this mythical stadium is something I cannot fully describe.
"The feeling is enormous and incredibly exciting."
Despite being heavily linked with a move back to Barca last summer, Fabregas is adamant helping the Gunners to victory is his only focus.
And the midfielder believes Tuesday's showdown is a perfect opportunity for Arsenal to stake their claim for silverware after missing out on the Carling Cup to Birmingham late last month.
"We have played so many games where we shown we have character, we have potential and that we are the present," said the skipper, who was sidelined for the cup decider at Wembley.
"We want to win things for the club and this is obviously a fantastic exam for all of us a team and individually."
The Spain midfielder is close friends with several members of the Barcelona side having shared World Cup success with a number of them last summer.
Two of those friends are Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, who will miss Tuesday's clash, and Fabregas feels their absence provides a welcome lift to Arsenal's chances.
He said: "I believe it is a big boost for Arsenal that two of my close friends - Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique - are not playing this evening as the former is injured while the latter is suspended."
The Gunners' advantage going into the second leg comes after victory at Emirates Stadium last month, with Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin completing a superb comeback following David Villa's early opener for the visitors.
But Fabregas has reminded his side that win will mean nothing if they do not finish the job at Camp Nou.
He added: "We should not rest on our victory in the first leg. The job is not finished by a long way.
"In the first leg we proved once again we have guts and character. But it's only the halfway stage. All that hard work and effort means nothing, absolutely nothing, if we don't finish the job off."