Euro bust-up was not the real Ben Arfa, says Newcastle's Cabaye

The French midfielder suggests his compatriot acted out of character this summer, and the stress of trying to win a trophy for France caused the clash with Laurent Blanc
France midfielder Yohan Cabaye has revealed his Newcastle compatriot Hatem Ben Arfa's furious bust-up with former national coach Laurent Blanc during Euro 2012 was down to the stress of trying to win the competition.

Following Les Bleus' defeat to Sweden in the final Group D match in June, a number of players - including Ben Arfa - were said to have had an angry exchange with Blanc.

However, Cabaye suggested his 25-year-old team-mate's actions were not in character, and the stress of the situation played a part in the talented midfielder's reactions.
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"The face he showed during the Euro, it is not Hatem Ben Arfa. I knew him for a year. Maybe the competition, the desire to do well, stress, [meant] he acted like that," he told French radio station RMC.

"You really know people when you're with them everyday. You discover them outside of football. This is the case, we [Ben Arfa and I] often see outside."

Cabaye also stated that France can judge their own progression against Spain in their upcoming World Cup qualifying fixture, and insists even a victory against the world and European champions a week on Tuesday will not represent a success unless the French top Group I.

"Spain is the very best at the moment, so the motivation will come alone. Everyone wants to play games like they play," he added.

"It will allow us to judge our team team and we know we will not stop working even if we win the game. The most important thing is to finish first in the group."