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N’Golo Kanté: The Picasso of Defensive Midfield

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“Mais comment il s’appelle? Kanté
N’golo, N’golo Kanté”
which means, “But what is the name? Kanté N’Golo, N’Golo Kanté”, is maybe the most felicitous line of the song, ‘Ramenez la coupe à la maison’ by French singer, Sachtela Evrard Djedje aka Vegedream.

The 5ft. 6″ dynamic box-to-box French international is undoubtedly the most fan-favouirte player of current generation. A 2x Premier League Champion, 1x UEFA Europa League Champion, 1x UEFA Champions League Champion and last but not the least, a 1x FIFA World Cup 2018 Champion, N’Golo Kanté is mainly known for two reasons– 1) His unmatched game reading, defensive skills and extraordinary work rate; 2) His humble and down-to-earth nature. Chelsea were crowned the Champions of Europe three days back. The final of UEFA Champions League 2020/21 was settled by a single goal from German international Kai Havertz assisted by English trequartista, Mason Mount. But, each and everyone out of those millions ‘n’ millions of football fans who watched the final on that day can’t deny that Kanté was the unsung hero of the match. His work rate throughout the whole 90 minutes was simply magical and extraordinary. Literally, he was everywhere on the field. He even put Kevin De Bruyne into his pocket effortlessly.

Infact, he was also named the UEFA Player of the Match in both of Chelsea’s semi-finals against Spanish giants, Real Madrid. After beating Manchester City in the final to win the Champions League, during a post-match interview with Virgin Media Sport, which has been viewed two million times at the time of writing, Kanté focused solely on the team without mentioning himself even for once. After being congratulated on the achievement, Kante replied “Thank you!”. He then even apologised to the interviewer because he couldn’t hear her properly while being told he was “amazing during the season”.

When he was asked that how he evaluated Chelsea’s performance and his own individual display, Kante was only interested in talking about the team. Maybe, that’s what you call a selfless player. “We are very happy, very proud”, he commented. “It’s the result of a lot of effort together. Some good results, some bad, but we stayed together. We played very well in the second part of the season and we enjoy this title all together.”

When asked how Chelsea had managed to beat Pep Guardiola’s side three times this season, Kante added: “The main thing is the fact we stick together. At the end, it’s beautiful to win this kind of title together.” After reading to what he said during the post-match interview, anyone can figure out that he is a gem of a player as well as a person. Infact, during his time at French club Caen, teammate Felipe Saad invited N’Golo Kante to his birthday party. He arrived there with a box of chocolates. After arriving, he apologised to his teammate for the gift because he had no idea of an ideal birthday gift back then because he was never invited to a birthday party before that. There are more instances where he has proved that he’s one of a kind both on and off the field.

Also, N’Golo Kanté is ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for Ballon D’Or 2021. What else anyone can say about him? Isn’t this enough to say that he is a legend of world’s most beautiful game? Of course, it is. He will be also playing a very important role in Les Bleus’ Euro 2021 campaign which is all set to kick-off on June 11.

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Dipro Mukherjee
18. Calcutta. Sagittarius. Sports Columnist.

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