N'Golo Kanté

N’Golo Kanté has risen to the pinnacle of his profession, and he’s done it with a smile on his face and a level of humility that is rare in modern football.

Kante: The big game player

An imperious display by the fabulous Frenchman in last season’s Champions League final was arguably the bedrock of Chelsea’s success on a night that they managed to stifle Man City’s numerous attacking weapons and become champions of Europe for the second time. That performance earned him the title of UEFA’s best midfielder of the year, another honour added to a growing, glowing personal collection.

You wouldn’t blame Kanté if he were to lead a flashy, vocal lifestyle, but the shy Frenchman is so reserved that he often needs to be urged by teammates to take the public plaudits and enjoy the limelight. All of that despite his domineering, swashbuckling displays at Russia 2018.

 Kanté: The perfect modern midfielder

Kante’s credentials as a world-class midfielder cannot be doubted by anybody that takes the game seriously, but he’s so much more than just a defensive maestro, although his premier League stats in one specific metric are very eye-catching indeed. Only Chelsea teammate César Azpilicueta has completed more tackles than Kanté in the last 10 campaigns combined. The work ethic which has taken Kante to to the pinnacle of his profession makes him a popular figure in any dressing room.

Tackles completed in the last 10 EPL seasons:

  • 816 César Azpilicueta
  • 650 N’Golo Kanté
  • 633 Wilfred Ndidi
  • 613 James McArthur
  • 610 Mark Noble

Kanté can operate as the lone pivot in a 4-1-4-1, as the most disciplined holding player in a double pivot in a 4-2-3-1, in a two as part of a 4-4-2, as an energetic box-to-box player in a two or as a shuttler, Jordan Henderson style, on the right side of a three-man midfield unit. He can do anything that a manager asks and he does it excellently.

For a long time, N’Golo Kanté was once pigeonholed as a pure defensive midfielder and then doubts were raised when he was deployed in a more dynamic box-to-box role by Antonio Conte, but the reasons for that tactical tweak are numerous and now very obvious.

Kanté’s all-around game makes him a dream for any manager or teammate. He wins the ball back all over the pitch and then distributes it smartly with minimum fuss and maximum efficiency. Playing in midfield against him must often feel as though you’re being slowly suffocated by a boa constrictor.

And then, although the player would be annoyed with us for doing this, there are all of the accolades that he has collected. Kanté’s medal collection for club and country just cannot be ignored. The consummate team player, he’s also been recognized on an individual level. There’s nothing particularly flashy about N’Golo Kante, aside from his collection of winner’s medals of course.

Kanté: The serial winner

  •  One of only 10 players to win the EPL with two clubs
  •  EPL winner with Leicester in 2016
  •  EPL winner in 2017
  •  FA Cup winner in 2018
  • 🇫🇷 Champion of the world in 2018
  •  Europa League winner in 2019
  •  Champions League winner in 2021
  •  Club World Cup winner in 2022
  •  UEFA Super Cup winner in 2022

Here’s another Kante song, sung by his France teammates. Enjoy these iconic scenes.

One of the finest midfielders of his generation, or any generation for that matter.

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