N’golo Kante is one of two major signings made by new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte this summer. The former Leicester star’s playing style has led fans to compare him to another French midfielder who was instrumental for the Blues in the past.
Kante joined Chelsea from Premier League champions Leicester City for £30 million earlier this summer. A lot of fans are hoping that he can emulate the exploits of French defensive midfielder Claude Makelele, who helped the Blues to successive title triumphs from 2004-06.
The former Leicester City star has played down the comparisons though, stating that he doesn’t see himself as similar to any other player.
“There have been a lot of French midfielders at Chelsea, but they did it their way and I do it my way and I hope I can do good things at Chelsea,” Kante said, according to The Sun.
“I saw Claude Makelele play in the French national team but before when he played at a club I didn’t watch him a lot. I can’t be the same as another player. I am just my way and I will try to improve on that at Chelsea.”
Former Real Madrid midfielder Claude Makelele was so effective in his position that it came to be known as ‘the Makelele role’. Los Blancos won the La Liga twice and the Champions League trophy once in his three years at the club, and his influence was highlighted when they went on to suffer three trophyless seasons after his departure for Stamford Bridge in 2003.
The Frenchman went on to become a vital cog in the Blues machine as Jose Mourinho ushered in the Roman Abramovich era with a flurry of titles. Makelele helped Chelsea to two league titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups as the Blues stamped their dominance on English football. He was not only a tireless defensive player, but also circulated the ball effectively.
As a defensive midfielder, he was one of the best in footballing history. N’golo Kante may have had an excellent season with Leicester, but he will have to take his game up several notches to continue the legacy of Makelele at Stamford Bridge.