I'm no Messi, says Cesc
GNIEWINO, Poland - Spain midfielder and sometime "false number nine" Cesc Fabregas said that nobody should compare him with Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi.
With Spain set to go up against Portugal in their Euro 2012 semifinal tomorrow, Fabregas insisted he is a totally different kind of player even if he has been called on to shoulder some goalscoring responsibilities for Spain with success, netting against Italy and Ireland.
Messi has also been called a false number nine but his role with Barca, and indeed with Argentina, is much wider ranging, while he is also a natural goalscorer as witnessed by last season's record-breaking efforts.
The Argentinian maestro scored 73 goals in 60 games for Barcelona last season, breaking the European club record of 67 goals set by Bayern Munich's Gerd Mueller in 1972-73.
Fabregas said of his clubmate: "I have never compared myself with Messi - that would be silly. I play where the boss puts me and that is that. I also think we shouldn't really be talking about Messi as he isn't here, first of all, and in any case is a very different player to me. We are talking about the best player in the history of football."
Yet he is also revelling in a wide-ranging role with Spain, at least when coach Vicente del Bosque decides to do without the services of a striker.
"I feel happy playing like that. I am free to roam. But even so, to compare me with Messi is really over the top. Messi is one thing and Cesc Fabregas something else. I hope nobody expects me to beat five players and score."
Spain are going to pay special attention to Portugal's star player and captain Cristiano Ronaldo as they look to neutralise their opponents' chief threat tomorrow.
"We will be taking special care of Cristiano Ronaldo," said Del Bosque, noting that the Spanish had managed to do that in their round of 16 success over their Iberian neighbours at the last World Cup. "It won't be an individual (marking) thing, there will be permanent help as there was two years ago," Del Bosque said.