Chelsea coach Carlo Cudicini does not know if Cesc Fabregas has played his last game for the club, but hailed him as “one of a kind”.
Fabregas has been linked with a move to French side Monaco during the January transfer window and he certainly looked like a man saying goodbye as Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 in the FA Cup third round, thanks to Alvaro Morata’s second-half double.
The Spaniard, who captained the side and missed a first-half penalty, was given a standing ovation by the crowd and his team-mates when he came off late in the game, before going back on the pitch after full-time where he was reduced to tears as Chelsea supporters sang his name.
Cudicini, standing in on press duties for boss Maurizio Sarri, said: “I personally don’t know. If it was his last game it was very good that he played in front of his fans and that he was able to have a nice reception. But I don’t know, so I can’t comment.
“What can I say about Cesc? Five hundred games, he is a player who is unique, he has an unbelievable awareness and vision of where his team-mates are on the pitch.
“I think he is one of the few that has the ability to give balls behind the defensive line that are so precise.
“He is one of a kind player. He has been fantastic for the teams he played for before us and the contribution he has given this club and to this team has been amazing. Cesc is a top, top player.”
Matchwinner Morata has also been linked with a move and the Spain striker demonstrated his infuriating mix of woeful misses and clinical finishing as the Blues progressed.
Morata scored twice either side of a shocking miss from four yards out.
“Alvaro played an important part in today’s performance,” Cuducini added. “He had a very good performance in terms of working for the team.
“It was very important for him to score two goals, that can only be good for his confidence.
“We are all very happy with his performance, but we were even when he didn’t score in previous games.
“The good thing for his morale is that he scored and hopefully he will be more free.”
Nottingham Forest boss Aitor Karanka had no complaints with the loss, but praised his side’s effort.
Forest knocked out the FA Cup holders Arsenal last season, but there was no prospect of that at Stamford Bridge as they barely had a sniff at Chelsea’s goal.
“Chelsea were much better than us,” the Spaniard admitted. “This is the kind of game that I can’t complain about.
“My players never gave up, they always tried to play when they had the ball. Even losing 2-0 in the last minute we were trying to play.
“This was the fifth game in two weeks, playing with the same players, I know we lost, but we lost against a very good Chelsea and we showed we are competing on the pitch.”
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