Fabregas pays tribute to 'first great friend' Reyes

Cesc Fabregas described Jose Antonio Reyes as "one of the great talents in football" in an emotional tribute to his former Arsenal and Spain team-mate, who was killed in a traffic accident on Saturday.

The pair won an FA Cup during their time together at Arsenal and Fabregas opened up about the important role Reyes played in his career as a young player.

Reyes arrived in North London in January 2004, by which time the 16-year-old Fabregas had been at Arsenal for four months, and he scored two goals in 13 Premier League appearances as Arsene Wenger's unbeaten side won the title.

Fabregas wrote a touching tribute on Instagram, which read: "My first great friend in the world of professional football, my room-mate, who always wanted to sleep with the air conditioning even at minus 10 degrees.

"A humble guy who always had a smile on his face, great footballer and great person. I could not wake up today in a worse way.

"I will never forget when you and your family welcomed me at your home in my first Christmas in England when I was alone and 16-years-old.

"Our connection in the field was also special, since it was always easy to find you between the lines so you could make the difference.

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Jose Antonio Reyes
Arsenal's Manager Arsene Wenger talks about tomorrows game with Celta Vigo as Jose Antonio Reyes looks on
Arsenal's Thierry Henry sits on the bench for the game against Manchester United with Jose Antonio Reyes and Graham Stack
l-r; Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring his equalising goal with Ashley Cole
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring the opening goal against Chelsea
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring the opening goal against Fulham with Thierry Henry
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes signs autographs after the game
Arsenal players celebrate with the Premiership trophy (front row l-r Jose Antonio Reyes, Fredrik Ljungberg and Thierry Henry)
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates with the Premiership trophy
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring the second goal against Manchester United with Jermaine Pennant
Arsenal's 'man of the match' Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates with the FA Community Shield trophy
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates his goal
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes walks off the pitch with an injury during the Barclays Premiership match at Highbury, London, Saturday October 30, 2004. THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE.
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes (c) celebrates scoring against Rosenborg with Ashley Cole (l) and Matthieu Flamini (r)
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring the equalising goal against Stoke City with Jermaine Pennant
l-r; Arsenal's opening goal socrer Robin van Persie is congratulated by Ashley Cole and Jose Antonio Reyes
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates his goal against Reading during the Carling Cup, fourth round match at Highbury Stadium, London, Tuesday November 29, 2005. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA. THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE.
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates scoring the 2nd goal against Portsmouth with Thierry Henry
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes (L) celebrates his goal Manchester City during the Barclays Premiership match at the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester.
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes (R) scores the second goal against Manchester City during the Barclays Premiership match at the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester.
Spain's Gutierrez Juanito celebrtates scoring the opening goal of the game with Raul and Jose Antonio Reyes
Real Madrid's David Beckham (l) is replaced by Jose Antonio Reyes
Jose Antonio Reyes, Athletico Madrid
Chelsea's Florent Malouda and Atletico Madrid's Jose Antonio Reyes during the UEFA Champions League Group Match match at the Vicente Calderon, Madrid.
Atletico Madrid's Antonio Lopez (holding Cup) celebrates victory with Raul Garcia (left) and Jose Antonio Reyes (right)
Sevilla's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates with the UEFA Europa League trophy
Sevilla's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates with his winners medal after winning the UEFA Europa League
Sevilla's Jose Antonio Reyes (left) and Sevilla owner Jose Castro Carmona (right) lift the UEFA Europa League trophy
Sevilla's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates with the Europa League trophy
Sevilla's Jose Antonio Reyes celebrates with the Europa League trophy after the match during the match at St. Jakob-Park, Basel, Switzerland.
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"I always say that you have been one of the greatest talents in football and I know that I am not wrong. Two days ago I was talking about you in an interview, it might be a sign, who knows, to remember you, my great friend."

Players and coaches throughout the football world joined Fabregas in mourning, including former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

In a tweet posted by Arsenal's official account, Wenger said: "I am devastated to hear the terrible news about Jose.

"To his family and friends, all support from everyone in the Arsenal family. He will remain forever in our hearts."

Sevilla sporting director Monchi, who helped discover Reyes, described the winger's importance at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, telling SFC Radio: "He was the most innate talent that came out of the academy.

"Not needing to improve on anything, he was already good, and what's more, with his sale he allowed the club to grow, and then he came back to win another three titles.

"He is Sevilla history.

"I've been numb since the chairman called me, trying to wake up from what I want to be a nightmare but tragically seems to be real."

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