The Fabregas game

Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas is probably one of the best holding midfielders in the game – he just doesn’t give the ball away.

This game will help your players learn how to look after the ball, just like Cesc!

Age group: U9s and upwards.

Set-up: Play 4v4 (or 5v5 with goalkeepers) on a 30×20 yards pitch with a goal at both ends.

How to play: Play “normal” football with the condition that a goal is worth two points.

  • Occasionally when you see a player win possession of the ball in midfield, call out “Fabregas!”
  • That player has to hold the ball for a minimum of 10 seconds. He is not allowed to pass or shoot. He must keep the ball by shielding it or dribbling.
  • If he succeeds, his team is awarded one point.

Coaching points

Before the game starts, demonstrate the technique of shielding the ball.


The game can be adapted for younger players by placing two or three safe zones in the playing area. Instead of shouting “Fabregas”, (they won’t know who he is!), call out “keep it”.

The player in possession now has 10 seconds to hold off his opponents or dribble into one of the safe zones.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.