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Fabregas revisits Arsenal end: ‘I used to spend sleepless nights suffering’

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Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas is lifting the lid on his decision to leave the club in 2011.

The wonderful Spanish midfielder was the Gunners captain, but felt frustrated by his teammates’ collective commitment to winning.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Now 32 and playing for Monaco, Fabregas turned back the clock to 2011 in a podcast interview with Arseblog.

He felt that his level was above the bunch, outside of Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie, and accepted a $40 million-plus move to childhood club Barcelona.

“I was the captain, I always felt so much pressure on myself,” Fabregas said. “I had to lead this team to win something. I gave everything. Sometimes, I used to go home after we lost and I used to cry.

“I used to suffer, I used to spend sleepless nights suffering. And then you lose a game, you’re in the bus like this, destroyed, and then you hear some players laughing, thinking about where they will be going out later. This was going on for a few years. We were playing beautiful football and I enjoyed that side of things but I was putting pressure on myself to lead, to do everything and at one point I felt kind of lonely.”

His final season featured a number of mercurial talents, including Andrei Arshavin, Carlos Vela, and Nicklas Bendtner.

Fabregas hit double-digit assists for Arsenal four times, including an absurd 20-assist season in 2007/08 and a 15-goal, 15-assist campaign in 2009/10. Following three good seasons with Barcelona, he returned to the PL with Chelsea and had a 19-assist season in his first year back in England.

Fabregas has three assists this season for Monaco, averaging 1.3 key passes and 40.8 passes per game.

Netherlands announce March friendly against United States

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The Dutch national team announced on Friday morning an upcoming friendly against the United States, set to take place in Eindhoven on March 26 with kickoff scheduled for 2:45 p.m. ET.

It will be the first time in four years that the two teams have met, with the U.S. winning 4-3 back in 2015 in a game that saw the United States come from two goals down to beat a Robin Van Persie-led Netherlands squad. The friendly was a wild back-and-forth affair that saw Danny Williams and Bobby Wood score two goals in the final three minutes to secure a comeback victory, with the Dutch hitting the post twice in the final 10 minutes as well. The U.S. had not beaten the Netherlands in four previous meetings before that come-from-behind win.

The upcoming match is of particular interest to Sergino Dest, the 19-year-old Dutch-born full-back who recently decided to commit his future to the United States over the Netherlands. Dest had represented the United States at the youth level but was heavily pursued by Dutch national team head coach Ronald Koeman.

The United States did not immediately confirm the announcement. U.S. Soccer has not yet posted official information for any 2020 matches on its official website. It remains to be seen if the United States will look to schedule a second European team on the road for that same international break, or if they will play one at home before hitting the road for the Netherlands match.

Absurd Paul Scholes pass has Premier League fans all nostalgic

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Vincent Kompany‘s testimonial on Wednesday featured some big names from the former Manchester City defender’s time in the Premier League, and one in particular put jaws on the floor.

Paul Scholes, whose time at City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United overlapped Kompany’s Premier League journey by four years, produced a moment of brilliance that brought fans back to his time in midfield for the Red Devils. The 44-year-old donned a dark blue shirt for the Premier League All-Stars side at Kompany’s testimonial and wow’d the crowd.

With Robin Van Persie and Robbie Keane breaking forward, Scholes took a square pass from Cesc Fabregas and produced a stunning flick with the outside of his boot that fell perfectly in line for the two strikers on a run. Unfortunately, both Keane and van Persie went for the ball, and they ran into each other allowing Jolean Lescott to recover and end the chance.

The match ended in a 2-2 draw as Benjani Mwaruwari scored a last-minute equalizer for the Manchester City Legends. Martin Petrov opened the scoring for Man City Legends, but the Premier League All-Stars took the lead through goals by van Persie and Keane before the late goal left things all square.

Current Manchester City players David Silva and Sergio Aguero were on hand to participate, as were former City players Samir Nasri, Joe Hart, Kolo Toure, Mario Balotelli, and Pablo Zabaleta. The likes of Edwin van der Sar, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, and Thierry Henry suited up for the opponents.

Kompany himself was unfortunately sidelined for the match by a hamstring injury – a cruel homage to the rampant injury history of his long 11-year playing career at the Etihad. He picked up the injury while playing for his new club Anderlecht where he serves as player/manager. The club has started the Jupiler Pro League season on a terrible run of form, without victory through its first five games, but picked up its first win of the season against rivals Standard Liege with Kompany out injured.

Proceeds from the match went to benefit A Bed Every Night, a charity in Manchester dedicated to helping aid the homeless in the city.

PL Golden Boot: Mane, Salah, Aubameyang all win with 22 goals

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For the first time in nearly a decade, there’s no singular winner of the Premier League’s Golden Boot.

Instead, the honor for most goals in the Premier League this season is shared by last year’s winner, Mohamed Salah, his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane, and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The trio of stars finished with 22 goals, as Mane and Aubameyang both hit a brace on Championship Sunday.

[READ: Man City win Premier League title]

The last time the Golden Boot was shared was in 2011, when Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov shared it with 20 goals.

For Arsenal, it’s the club’s first Golden Boot winner since Robin Van Persie scored an incredible 30-goals in the 2011-2012 season, before moving to Manchester United and winning a Premier League title. Aubameyang becomes Arsenal’s third Golden Boot winner, following Thierry Henry and Van Persie. Mane meanwhile becomes Liverpool’s fourth Golden Boot winner, after Salah, Luis Suarez, and Michael Owen.

Adebayor reveals reason behind that celebration against Arsenal

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Just about everyone remembers it (If not, watch it here on Youtube).

Then Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor finds himself in space between two of Arsenal’s centerbacks, Adebayor’s former teammates, before the Togolese striker heads home a terrific goal. Adebayor then go on a 100-yard sprint down the left side of the field, finishing in an epic knee slide right in front of the Arsenal away support at the Etihad, then called the City of Manchester Stadium.

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It was audacious. It was outrageous. But we didn’t know why he truly did that until now.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail, Adebayor said that racist abuse from Arsenal fans that day was what led to his famous celebration for Man City. Racist abuse has been back in the news recently, as many Afro-descended players including Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Daniel Sturridge have spoken out about the hate, abuse, and vitriol they experience on a weekly basis.

“I remember getting to the stadium and Arsenal fans were there,” Adebayor told the Daily Mail. “All I heard was the the chant ‘Your mother is a whore and your father washes elephants.’ My father worked in currency exchange and my mother is a businesswoman. But this went on and on. So how can I reply? I didn’t have a voice to go against thousands of supporters.

“And now the same FA are trying to stop racism? I’m sorry. It does not work that way. Today is too late. We are tired. Enough is enough. I see Mario Balotelli and Didier Drogba on Instagram. How many times do we have to post something? We have to react. We have to leave the pitch.”

Earlier in the interview, Adebayor also stated he did not want to leave Arsenal, but said he was forced to by then-manager Arsene Wenger. The now 35-year-old striker also admitted that Arsenal didn’t do enough to hold onto its top players, allowing the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie, along with himself, to leave and win titles and earn more money elsewhere.

“I did not just wake up one morning at Manchester City,” Adebayor said. “I had signed a five-year contract at Arsenal. I came back for pre-season and Wenger said ‘You have to leave’. I said ‘Why should I leave?’ I asked for one more year and if it does not work, I will walk off. He’s like ‘No.’ He said if I stayed he would not put me in the squad. When you hear that, you have to go.”

The rest of the interview is worth your time, in which Adebayor reveals he nearly committed suicide as a teenager in the Metz academy, what it was like seeing death flash before his eyes in Angola during the 2010 African Cup of Nations, when the Togo team bus was attacked by militants, and, on a lighter note, who his favorite teammates were.