LONDON - Cesc Fabregas is the future of Chelsea and ideally suited to stepping into Frank Lampard's central midfield boots, manager Jose Mourinho said Monday.
Former Arsenal captain Fabregas, 27, signed for Chelsea from Barcelona in June after the London club's record goalscorer Lampard left under freedom of contract at the end of last season.
Fabregas scored in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Ferencvaros in Budapest on Sunday - on a day when Lampard was sitting in the stands for Manchester City after signing on loan from New York City FC - in the Blues' penultimate pre-season friendly before next Monday's Premier League opening contest at Burnley.
Mourinho said on chelseafc.com: "Frank is the history of the club, history nobody can forget.
"Fabregas is the future; history is history but the future is more important at the moment.
"My opinion, and the opinion of my players, is that Fabregas is the right player to occupy that central position in midfield." Chelsea returned from Hungary late Sunday ahead of their match with Real Sociedad on Tuesday.
It is still too soon to know the full extent of the ankle injury which forced Didier Drogba off during the first half against Ferencvaros.
Drogba was quoted as saying on the club's website: "I twisted my ankle and I couldn't continue.
"In the next few days we are going to do some treatment and I hope everything will be better."