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Former Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas says he and Eden Hazard coined N'Golo Kante's nickname at Stamford Bridge because of his world-class skill.
Kante was named "N’Golinho" by his teammates with the Blues, whom he signed for in 2016, when all three players were at the Premier League club together.
Fabregas has since moved to Monaco, while Hazard plays for Real Madrid.
The former Spain international opened up about the nickname ahead of Kante's Euro 2020 opener with France against Germany on Tuesday night
Fabregas told the Daily Telegraph : "It was Eden Hazard and I who gave N’Golo Kante his Brazilian nickname of N’Golinho when we were all at Chelsea together and I still use it to this day…
Fabregas and Hazard gave Kante his nickname at Chelsea
(Image: Darren Walsh)
"He’s seen as a defensive midfielder who makes all these tackles and recoveries and it’s fantastic, but sometimes we wouldn’t see him lose the ball.
"He can run with the ball, break lines and dribble, and sometimes, just because it’s him, we don’t appreciate these things.
"So that’s maybe why we started to call him N’Golinho. He’s one of the most complete midfielders in the world, for sure."
Kante is expected to be in the starting line-up for Les Bleus tomorrow, but team selection has not been the main topic people have been focusing on of late.
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The in-fighting in the squad, particularly between Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe, has grabbed headlines.
Giroud had complained to reporters he wasn't given enough service in France's 3-0 friendly win over Belgium.
Mbappe hit back publicly and said his teammate should not have told the press about the issue.
The PSG star forward said: "It's not what he said. Frankly, what he said doesn't bother me. I'm a striker and it's an opinion. He is expressing an opinion when he speaks. It doesn't bother me.
Will France defeat Germany? Comment below
"I'm a striker and I've had this feeling 365 times in a game and I will have it again, when you feel you're not getting the service [of the ball]. It's more about making it public.
"He's a striker, he wants to score goals, he's near a record and when you're a striker, whether you like it or not, it gets into your head. If he could have scored another goal he would have done so.
"But making it [the argument] public…I would have preferred to let him come and be even more vocal in the changing room. It's happened to me. We have known each other for a while.
"You know what I am like in the changing room. If I have something to say to someone I say it. That's not a problem but it stays in the changing room. But it's not a problem, these are small trifles.
"And I don't want this preparation, which has started well – because we have played some good matches – to be spoiled or for the squad to be affected because the squad doesn't need this.
"We have some difficult challenges to face and we don't need to create our own obstacles."