Spain boost as Fabregas wins battle for fitness

CESC Fabregas has raised hopes he will be fit for Spain’s World Cup semi-final against Germany tonight by training with his team-mates last night.

The Arsenal midfielder had a scan on his right leg after taking a knock in training but there was no serious damage.

He did have a support strip on the back of his leg in training in Durban last night but took part in a full session with no apparent adverse effects.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is thought likely to give Fabregas his first start of the tournament in place of Fernando Torres, although David Silva and Fernando Llorente are other options.

The Spanish Football Federation said in a statement: “The tests have ruled out any type of bone injury so the player could be available to play against Germany. He has not been ruled out for the game tomorrow.”

There has been speculation that the 23-year-old would start the game since Spain improved dramatically in the quarter-final against Paraguay when he replaced Fernando Torres.

Spain managed 15 shots against Paraguay with 11 of these, and the four on-target efforts, coming in the 34 minutes after Fabregas was on the pitch.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said fears over Fabregas had now been dispelled.

Del Bosque said: “He has trained well. We were quite worried yesterday because he took a hit in the same place as his injury but he is available to play.”

Meanwhile, Barcelona president Sandro Rosell maintains his club will not be held to ransom by Arsenal as they bid to prise Fabregas away from Emirates Stadium.

The 23-year-old may have already expressed his desire to return to the Nou Camp with manager Arsene Wenger, yet Arsenal have no intention of selling their midfielder, who still has five years left on his contract.

An offer from Barcelona, believed to be in the region of £30million, has already been flatly rebuffed.

While Barcelona will no doubt come back with improved terms, Rosell, who took over from Joan Laporta last week, insists the Spanish side are not prepared to break the bank for Fabregas.

“We will never pay 50 or €60m for Cesc,” Rosell said.

Rosell will now seek talks with Wenger, who is commentating for French television at the World Cup.

“I assure you I will try and talk with him (Wenger) in South Africa,” added Rosell. Wenger, meanwhile, will have been busy with rebuilding plans of his own in South Africa.

German defender Serdar Tasci is one reported target, but with a £10m move for Laurent Koscielny of French club Lorient set to be completed, the Arsenal boss is unlikely to seek more cover at the back.

Concerns over the fitness of Nicklas Bendtner, whose groin problems have not cleared fully despite complete rest after Denmark’s exit from the World Cup, could see Eduardo retained, even though the Brazil-born Croatian is now further down the pecking order at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have also been linked with a move for the striker’s namesake, the Portugal goalkeeper who impressed in South Africa and could be available for around £4m from Braga.


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