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 him give the trophy a kiss as they walked by. Kante, a contact nervous possibly, gave it slightly pat and shuffled on.
Humble to the top, Kante moved a step nearer to profitable every little thing there may be 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 subsequent six weeks and Kante may have executed the lot.
All with that beaming smile on his face.
Requested if Kante is one of the best participant on the planet, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta was in little doubt: “It’s simple, sure.”
For the time being, it’s onerous to argue.
Kante was voted man of the match by UEFA’s technical observers in each legs of Chelsea’s semifinal in opposition to Actual Madrid, and once more within the 1-0 win over Manchester Metropolis within the remaining.
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 every little thing,” Chelsea supervisor Thomas Tuchel stated. “The vitality he brings, I don’t know what number of ball recoveries as we speak. 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 stated 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 matches into any supervisor’s plans on the planet,” stated Tuchel, the previous Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund supervisor.
“I used to be determined to have him in my groups up to now.”
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 12 months for the primary time, particularly if he helps France to win the Euros. He has already received the most important private award in English soccer, the PFA participant of the 12 months 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 automobiles and saved going to the identical hairdresser, paying 10 kilos for a trim.
That humble facet of Kante hasn’t modified, at the same time as he provides Champions League winner to his prolonged listing of accomplishments.