MARTIN KEOWN: N’Golo Kante is the best defensive midfielder in the world

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MARTIN KEOWN: N’Golo Kante is the best defensive midfielder in the world – and you could argue the Chelsea star is the best EVER in the role

  • It is no coincidence that France and Chelsea have triumphed with N’Golo Kante
  • Kante was influential in stopping Manchester City’s passing machine
  • He could have played until midnight as he stopped City in the Champions League final
  • The £ 32 million Chelsea spent on him from Leicester in 2016 now seems like a bargain

The passing Manchester City machine could not get going, largely because N’Golo Kante threw a spanner in the works.

It is no coincidence that the French team that won the last World Cup and the Chelsea team that just won the Champions League have Kante.

He is so immense. It felt like the final could have lasted from Saturday to midnight and he would still run up and down the field, such was his desire to disturb City.

N’Golo Kante (left) celebrates winning the Champions League after beating Manchester City

Right now there is no better defensive midfielder in the world than the all-action Kante. Is he the best ever? It is difficult to say. You could certainly make a case.

I was blessed to play behind Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva. Those players offer you pure protection and you feel safer with them in front of you. That’s what Kante gives to this Chelsea defense.

Maurizio Sarri tried to play him in a different position, but Thomas Tuchel plays him where he is at his best. Not only have we to say that Leicester found a gem in Kante, but Chelsea got an absolute bargain when they spent £ 32m on him in 2016.

The midfielder's energy was key to aiding City's passing game during the final

The midfielder’s energy was key to aiding City’s passing game during the final

Kante was named Man of the Match after the final while addressing the media

Kante was named Man of the Match after the final while addressing the media

The Blues had just finished 10th in the Premier League, remember, so they weren’t even in Europe. But while other parties went to sleep, Chelsea drew a world beater. Every team in Europe would love it if this midfielder, with a twin engine, starts for them now.

Kante would have been warned to watch out for Ilkay Gundogan who arrived late in the box. So it would have been surprised to see City’s top scorer in the distance, who had been deployed as their deepest midfield player.

Now at 30, Kante has won medals in the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and World Cup.

He is simply one of the greats of the game.

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