Cesc Fabregas is at the centre of controversy ahead of his return to Arsenal after it emerged a Chelsea steward has been sacked for calling him “a snake”.

The incident is understood to have taken place earlier this season. Footage emerged online on Friday and Chelsea have confirmed action has been taken against the steward.

In the eight-second clip Fabregas is shown taken aback as he passes a steward and is told: “You’re a snake, you’re Arsenal, what happened to you?”

Upset Fabregas then appears to be alerting someone else to what has been said.

The Spain midfielder, 28, made 503 appearances for Arsenal after joining their academy from Barcelona as a 15-year-old in 2003.

He was the Gunners’ captain before rejoining Barca in 2011. Fabregas joined Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea when he returned to the Premier League in June 2014.

A Chelsea spokesman told Mirrorsport: “The steward no longer works at Stamford Bridge.”

The Spaniard played a key role in Chelsea’s title win but like his team-mates, has struggled for form this season.

Following Jose Mourinho’s controversial departure in December, Fabregas was booed by the Chelsea fans along with Diego Costa.

The pair were accused of under-performing this term, with the Stamford Bridge faithful turning on them in support of their former boss.

Fabregas has returned to form under Hiddink and scored in last weekend’s thrilling draw with Everton.

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