Fabregas told The Times: “I remember one day I played alongside him and I had an absolute stinker. It was a horror show, I was giving the ball away, I wasn’t getting involved. After the game I was upset and I think everybody knew just how down I was on the bus ride home. Vieira came up to me and I’ll never forget his words.
“He said that I was 17 years old and would have at least another 15 seasons as a professional and, most likely, I would have many other really bad games ahead of me. He said that it was impossible to perform at 100 per cent every match and that those outside football who demanded it did not understand the game. He said that what mattered was giving 100 per cent, knowing that you might not get 100 per cent back from your performance. And that I shouldn’t worry and beat myself up over it, but continue working hard.
“His words had a massive impact on me, not least because he was my captain and a guy who played in my position on the pitch.”