Cesc Fabregas hails ‘big game player’ N’Golo Kante after dominating Real Madrid’s midfield in the Champions League… while Gary Lineker jokes he will be intercepted by the Chelsea star on his journey home!
Former Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas hailed ‘big game player’ N’Golo Kante for his display in the Blues’ 1-1 draw away at Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first-leg.
Thomas Tuchel’s side scored an early away goal through Christian Pulisic in the Spanish capital but were pegged back later in the first-half by Karim Benzema’s acrobatic effort.
But for Fabregas, who left the Blues in 2019 to join current club Monaco, it was the performance of former Chelsea team-mate Kante, who won the man of the match award on Tuesday night, who caught the eye at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.
Cesc Fabregas hailed the display of N’Golo Kante in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw away at Real Madrid
Fabregas claimed his former Blues team-mate ‘plays for two’ people in the Chelsea midfield
The 33-year-old tweeted during the game: ‘N’golo has always been a big game player. Never doubt him. He plays for 2.’
Fabregas and Kante played together at Stamford Bridge for two-and-a-half seasons, picking up Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League medals together.
Kante has stayed on at Chelsea since Fabregas departed to France and has now formed a fixed central midfield partnership with Jorginho in the heart of Tuchel’s side.
Spanish midfielder Fabregas was not the only person to admire Kante’s display on Tuesday night, with BT Sport and BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker admiring the midfielder who used to play for his boyhood club Leicester City.
Kante was awarded the man-of-the-match award for his display in the Spanish capital
Fabregas (left) and Kante (middle) were Chelsea midfield team-mates for two-and-a-half years
Lineker tweeted after the match: ‘On way home from covering the game and expecting to be intercepted by @nglkante.’
Despite failing to win the Champions League last-four tie in the Spanish capital, Kante’s Chelsea can take solace from the fact they scored a crucial away goal to take back to west London for next week’s return fixture.
The Blues arguably should have added to their lead in Valdebebas, with Timo Werner firing a glorious chance from close-range straight at Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, with Ben Chilwell and substitute Hakim Ziyech also going close.
Gary Lineker also took to Twitter to praise the French World Cup-winning midfielder
At the other end, French striker Benzema struck the outside of the post in the first-half, while Raphael Varane should have done better with a late header from a corner inside the Chelsea penalty area.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real go to Stamford Bridge next Wednesday knowing they must get past Tuchel’s defence to reach yet another Champions League final under the French manager.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are looking to reach their first Champions League final since they won the competition back in 2012.