Kanté: Great love for the little man of France

Kanté: Great love for the little man of France

French midfielder N’Golo Kanté has achieved the rare feat of being universally loved by his teammates and respected by his opponents. The UEFA Champions League winner with Chelsea is the player the Blues look to play against Switzerland in the round of 16 in Bucharest on Monday.

Live event: France vs Switzerland

Kanté has been his usual character since the start of UEFA EURO 2020, covering more ground (32km) than any other French player, and tidy with the ball as well, making 90% of his passes. He’s the ultimate reliable gentleman.

Center-half Raphaël Varane told EURO2020.com: “Everyone loves N’Golo. He’s a great teammate and a great person. He is loved by everyone. He’s got an unusual personality, and he’s very shy, but on the pitch he’s so generous, he goes that extra mile to get the ball back and then move on. He’s a special player and a special person too. ”

Deschamps is full of praise for KantéAFP via Getty Images

Standing at 169 cm, Kanté is small but his influence is enormous. France coach Didier Deschamps said before the tournament: “He deserves the Ballon d’Or. It is one of the engines of the France team and the place it occupies there has nothing to do with its size because it is enormous! “

After making his international debut in 2016, Kanté became a nationally revered figure when France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. During the post-tournament presidential reception at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Paul Pogba memorably took the mic to sing The Kanté Song as a smiling Deschamps hugged the midfielder and the rest of the team joined the choirs. The lyrics say: “He’s small, he’s nice, he stopped Leo Messi, but we all know he’s a cheater, N’Golo Kanté!” “

On a lung stroke: luckily he has 14 morePISCINE/AFP via Getty Images

Pogba explained, “N’Golo cheats a lot when you play him cards or board games, even in possession games in practice. He says he’s not cheating but he’s cunning, it’s N’Golo, and he’s doing it. He is the most beloved footballer in football history. You can’t hate him. He is humble, kind, professional. He never complains and he works hard. “

Known as NG by his teammates, Kanté’s work ethic amazes his teammates and makes their jobs easier. After a magnificent performance by Kanté against Peru at the World Cup, Pogba joked: “He has 15 lungs. Football is much easier when you play with someone like that. “

Watch Giroud’s baby photo challenge in France

Kanté shuns the limelight and doesn’t like giving interviews. Yet in a sport where coaches and players aren’t always happy to discuss individuals, everyone likes to talk about him. Presnel Kimpembe told EURO2020.com: “You can’t hate N’Golo. He is always smiling and very positive. He gets along with everyone and, above all, he shows his quality on the pitch. “

Even the adversaries are charmed. Hungarian coach Marco Rossi said: “If I could, I would vote for him for the Ballon d’Or for sure. He is a very complete player, who has come out of almost nothing to reach the top of the world game. . It is impossible not to admire him, it is impossible to criticize him. “

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