N'Golo Kante Profile
|Born||Mar 29, 1991|
A World Cup winner, twice a Premier League champion, double FA Cup winner and a Europa League winner. Loved by fans and players alike, N'Golo Kante has been a revelation since his arrival in England
Frenchman Kante plays as a midfielder for Chelsea and the France national team. Previously, Kante played for Boulogne and Caen before making his Premier League bow in 2015/16 with Leicester City, playing a crucial role in their historic title-winning season.
Kante was the Premier League Player of the Year, Football Writers' Association Player of the Year, PFA Players' Player of the Year and a member of the PFA Team of the Year in 2016/17, his first season at Chelsea, as he helped the Blues win the Premier League title, just as he had with Leicester. He remained a mainstay in the side under Antonio Conte, then Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard afterwards.
Kante was also a crucial member of France's 2018 FIFA World Cup-winning side, striking an impressive partnership with Paul Pogba in midfield. While he's known as a quiet, diminutive character off the pitch, Kante's stock has risen to the point where he has become one of the best holding midfielders in world football.
Kante at Chelsea
Kante joined Chelsea from Leicester ahead of the 2016/17 season for a reported transfer fee of £32million. Having signed a five-year deal with the Blues, Kante said: "I am so happy to have signed for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. It's a dream come true for me."
Chelsea had won the Premier League title in 2014/15, but a disastrous 2015/16 had seen them drop to 10th, with manager Jose Mourinho sacked midway through the campaign. Antonio Conte was appointed the new permanent Chelsea head coach ahead of the 2016/17 season and Kante proved to be a key signing for him.
Starring in the heart of midfield alongside Nemanja Matic, Kante was instrumental in Chelsea's rampant 2016/17 Premier League campaign. They racked up a then-record 13 Premier League victories in a row as they waltzed to the title with a total of 93 points. Kante was duly rewarded with the PFA Players' Player of the Year prize.
The club parted ways with Conte ahead of the 2018/19 season and Maurizio Sarri took over, bringing Jorginho with him from Napoli. This posed a problem for Kante, as Sarri preferred to use Jorginho as a deep-lying midfielder and Kante in a more advanced role, which he was unfamiliar with.
The criticism of Kante did not go down well with Chelsea fans and Sarri was not always popular with them. However, the Blues managed to win the UEFA Europa League in 2018/19, with Kante earning a place in the Europa League Squad of the Season.
After that season came to a close, Frank Lampard took over as head coach and steered Chelsea to fourth place in the Premier League despite the Blues having to endure a transfer ban, with Kante returning to a more familiar defensive midfield role and thriving once more.
Kante's crucial contribution at Leicester
Kante joined Leicester from Caen for a reported £5.6million on 3 August 2015, signing a four-year contract with the Foxes.
Leicester were widely tipped to be relegated from the Premier League in 2015/16 and the appointment of Claudio Ranieri to replace Nigel Pearson drew criticism in many quarters. However, with Kante playing a starring role, Leicester proved their detractors wrong.
With Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy starring up front, Kante did much of the dirty work in defence throughout the 2015/16 Premier League season, picking up the most interceptions (157) and tackles (175) in the Premier League.
The midfielder's positive influence was there for all to see as Leicester sensationally beat Arsenal and Tottenham to the Premier League title, winning at odds of 5000/1 and writing one of the greatest underdog stories in the history of global sport.
After his arrival at the King Power Stadium, the midfielder was quickly recognised as one of the most talented players in the Premier League, whose relentless quality and consistency proved to be an enormous asset in Leicester's quest to complete what many people viewed as an impossible task.
Unfortunately for the Foxes, however, Kante's remarkable campaign with Leicester meant that other clubs quickly became interested in acquiring the Frenchman's services, with West London being Kante's eventual destination.
After Kante was sold to Chelsea, Leicester struggled to replace him and their form took a turn for the worse, while Chelsea rose back to the top of the Premier League in no small part thanks to Kante's influence.
A World Cup winner with France
Kante had the option of representing Mali, having been born in France to Malian parents, but chose instead to play for France. He had first been approached by Mali ahead of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Kante made his debut for France against the Netherlands in March 2016, coming on for Lassana Diarra in a 3-2 victory at the Amsterdam Arena. Kante went to Euro 2016 with France and played his part in the tournament, but was not used in their 1-0 final defeat to Portugal on home soil.
Having risen through the French domestic divisions as a player, Kante's first cap came at the relatively late age of 25 - but he has since established himself as one of Les Bleus' most important players on the international stage.
After the disappointment of defeat at the final hurdle at Euro 2016, Kante got his hands on silverware at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He played a starring role alongside Paul Pogba in a side which sealed victory with a 4-2 triumph over Croatia in the final. Kante was named man of the match for his performance against Denmark in the group stage.
Kante grew up idolising Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Maradona - players who were all very different to him in terms of style of play. He picked up a diploma in vocational accounting at the age of 21, while on the books of Boulogne.
Kante is a practising Muslim and is known as a shy and quiet character. Olivier Giroud has claimed that Kante was too shy to touch the FIFA World Cup trophy during France's victory celebrations and it had to be physically handed to him before he did so.
The Sun reported in December 2020 that Kante was on wages of £150,000 per week at Chelsea.