N’Golo Kante approached the winner’s podium and sized up the gleaming European Cup that was nearly as large as him.
The diminutive midfielder had seen jubilant teammates earlier than he give the trophy a kiss as they walked by. Kante, a contact nervous perhaps, gave it a bit pat and shuffled on.
Humble to the tip, Kante moved a step nearer to profitable all the things there’s to win in soccer by including the Champions League with Chelsea on Saturday.
A Premier League winner in 2016 and ’17, with Leicester then Chelsea. A World Cup winner in 2018 with France. A Europa League winner in 2019. Now, a European champion.
Win the European Championship with France throughout the following six weeks and Kante could have completed the lot.
All with that beaming smile on his face. Requested if Kante is one of the best participant on this planet, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta was in little question: “It’s simple, sure.” For the time being, it’s laborious to argue.
Kante was voted man of the match by UEFA’s technical observers in each legs of Chelsea’s semifinal towards Actual Madrid, and once more within the 1-Zero win over Manchester Metropolis within the closing.
He made 10 ball recoveries, greater than some other participant. He received all three tackles he tried — together with a key one to snuff out Kevin De Bruyne as he approached Chelsea’s field early within the second half. Then there have been his surging runs ahead, main the counterattack.
In a match the place a lot focus was on Metropolis supervisor Pep Guardiola’s resolution to not play a specialist defensive midfielder, Kante produced a clinic in that place as soon as once more.
“He does all the things,” Chelsea supervisor Thomas Tuchel mentioned. “The vitality he brings, I don’t know what number of ball recoveries at present. He coated a lot floor.
“It’s particular to have him and once we don’t have him we missed him. After profitable the World Cup, the Champions League, he’s so humble in his place.”
Tuchel has mentioned earlier than that he was bestowed a present when he arrived at Chelsea in January to be handed a squad containing Kante.
“I believe N’Golo suits into any supervisor’s plans on the planet,” mentioned Tuchel, the previous Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund supervisor.
“I used to be determined to have him in my groups previously.”
Now he has him and is using him completely.
It is not going to be a shock to see Kante voted the FIFA participant of the yr for the primary time, particularly if he helps France to win the Euros. He has already received the largest private award in English soccer, the PFA participant of the yr in 2016 on the again of Leicester’s title win.
At Leicester, the story goes, he used to run to coaching whereas others arrived of their flashy vehicles and stored going to the identical hairdresser, paying 10 kilos for a trim.
That humble facet of Kante hasn’t modified, whilst he provides Champions League winner to his prolonged listing of accomplishments.