It’s impossible not to love N’Golo Kante, who has a ‘big brother’ aura at Chelsea.
This is the perspective of former Blues defender Mario Melchiot, who compared the 2018 World Cup winner to legendary midfielder Claude Makelele.
Kante was simply unstoppable in Chelsea’s triumphant victory over Man City in the Champions League final – a performance that earned him another man of the match award after his two compelling semi-final performances against Real Madrid .
This has led to calls for the Frenchman to win this year’s Ballon d’Or – although the player himself has refuted such suggestions.
But during Monday’s talkSPORT breakfast, Melchiot explained how Kante and Makelele are similar to him.
“Do you know what I like about him?” It’s kind of what I got with Makelele. They are similar guys in the way they’re built, ”Melchiot said.
“I don’t want to say how they play because I’m the one bringing something that isn’t necessary.
“Sometimes they walk next to you and they look like your little brother, but the moment they put on the kit, they become your big brother.
“I have the impression that Kante is something like that. You see this little guy you look at him and [think] “Why would I be afraid of a man like you?” And then when you’re in the field with him, you’re like, “Oh, that little man is turning into a giant” and he’s running the show. “
“Tuchel said it himself. He said: “I don’t want to start this game without him” because he knows what he brings to the team.
“We can probably talk about different types of players, [Kai] Havertz scored a great goal, and stuff like that, but whoever brings balance to the team is always the leader and that’s why, for me, Kante is.
Kante, however, recently refuted the comparisons made between him and his French compatriot.
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“Growing up, coaches or teammates might tell me that I look like this or that player,” Kante told UEFA.
“I was just someone who watched football; I would watch the games that interested me, without necessarily focusing on players in a position similar to mine.
“Whenever the international break came, I obviously watched France play. And looking at Makelele or Lassana Diarra, I was inspired by them at one point.
“But in the end, I’m not like them. I have been fortunate to be in contact with them and they are great players with their own careers, and I have my own career and my own path by my side.
“I have had a few discussions with Claude since I arrived at Chelsea. He was there to give me advice on my game and the impact I can have on the game.
“Being able to talk to him about it is beneficial for me because he knows the job. “
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