Cesc Fabregas is trying to put football out of his mind while he recovers from his knee injury.
The Spanish midfielder suffered medial ligament damage during the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on December 21 and is not expected back until late March at the earliest. Since then Fabregas has kept in touch with Arsenal's progress - whether he has been in England or not - but the 21-year-old is trying to make the best of a rare break from the game.
"To be honest, apart from watching the Arsenal games, I haven’t been following football much lately," Fabregas told the Official Arsenal Programme. "I’m not really thinking about football, watching the games, following the transfer market, nothing.
"Of course I love watching Arsenal, and I will never miss a game when I can help it, but apart from that I’m just forgetting about everything to do with football. Even my girlfriend is surprised because it’s unusual for me, but to be honest when it comes to football at the moment, I am off it until I can start to get fit again.
"I just have to be patient and try to enjoy a holiday. In the last five years I haven’t been able to take any type of holiday because even during the summer I have been playing for the national team, so it’s been constant.
"I think in six years I’ve only ever had three consecutive weeks without football. That’s not normal for a 21 year-old. For Arsenal and Spain at all levels I think I have played 270 games – for a 21 year-old that’s not normal so I guess at one stage this had to happen. I want to relax as much as possible, and I’m sure I will come back stronger."
Fabregas was back in England to watch the FA Cup win over Plymouth at the start of the month but has been receiving treatment in Barcelona. He is counting the days until he can get back on the pitch and - hopefully - help Arsenal end the season with silverware.
"There are still a few more weeks of resting and it’s difficult because I cannot really do anything at the moment," he added. "So it’s a good time to go away on holiday, make the most of it, and hopefully it will help to pass the time quicker. I just want these next few weeks to go as quickly as possible so I can start to get fit again.
"But I am in really, really good hands. I am seeing a doctor in Barcelona who is the best in Europe for treating knee injuries, and at Arsenal we have Colin Lewin who is a great physio, so I’m not worried about it."
This interview first appeared in the Official Matchday Programme. You can subscribe to the Matchday Programme by calling 08700 20 20 20.Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source