Contrary to popular belief, Cesc Fabregas played quite a lot for Barcelona last season. He featured in 28 league matches and 48 all together, scoring 15 goals and adding 20 assists. Not bad for a player who always feels left out due to the presence of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.

This season? Fabregas has a sour face, although he has played in all three Barcelona league matches, continuing the bad form that attached to him in the second half of last season. He started his senior career for Barcelona with a bang, but slowly faded away, maybe when he realized that his triumphant return doesn’t place him above the mentioned trio when it comes to the hierarchy.

He gets a bit more respect from Del Bosque in Spain, who proved just how much he trusts him by letting Fabregas shoot the fifth penalty against Portugal in the Euro. Fabregas had his frustrating moments in the tournament as well, with Del Bosque juggling the no-striker idea along with Fernando Torres’ form, but he opted for the no-striker in the final. With Barcelona? Fabregas is playing, but not well.

Back when Barcelona purchased him, it seemed like a bit of a stretch. Returning a home grown player turned into a Premier League star home, but without real need for the player. It’s hard to imagine purchasing someone like Fabregas just for the sake of widening the rotation. Too much quality and prestige to his name, and Fabregas’ versatility and difference in style was utilized quite often last season, playing instead of Xavi, Iniesta or someone in the front three, excluding the untouchable Messi.

This season? It’s either Iniesta or Xavi that he gets to replace, with Pedro and Alexis firmly planted on the wings in Tito’s slightly adapted style. Busquets has more freedom to move up, although I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, while Xavi or the man playing the Xavi role has to drop back and cover. When Fabregas had to play that position against Osasuna, it looked bad, for him and for the team. He’s simply not the kind of play-maker Xavi is, or isn’t there yet. His role as a more attacking, less responsible midfielder fits his style, but both Iniesta and Messi do it better than him.

Transfer rumors? Yes. Someone saw his grouchy face after the win over Valencia and decided that AC Milan, in dire need of some quality in every position were looking to sign Fabregas on a loan deal. It seems like rumors, nothing more. Fabregas needs to work on two things, and it should be fine: His patience, for the moment Xavi retired or someone gets injured and he’ll have a more certain place somewhere in the constellation  And his current form and ability. For the midfielder that’s supposed to bring a lot of attacking flair every time he’s on the pitch, it hasn’t been exactly working this season. When the first goal comes, smiles will start showing up.

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