Chelsea, it would be fair to say, are neither media darlings nor many football fans’ second team. But perhaps N’Golo Kante can change that.
Chelsea have long struggled to find support from neutrals, but signing Kanté must surely have helped. After all, nobody would wish anything but good things upon the France midfielder so, even though they might not realise it, those Chelsea haters are subconsciously hoping the Blues are successful.
Here are just some of the reasons why it’s impossible not to love Kanté.
He used to pick up rubbish
Born to Malian immigrants in Paris, Kanté used to help his father collect rubbish from the streets as a child, walking for miles around the suburbs in the east of the city looking for valuable waste.
Even as a youngster, he showed a work rate which would go on to serve him well in his football career…
He did not have it easy
Having started his football career with JS Suresnes, an amateur club in the west of Paris, Kanté did not get picked up by a professional club, Boulogne, until he was 19.
He made his debut on the final day of the Ligue 2 season in 2012 before making his breakthrough in the third tier the following season and then spending two years at Caen, helping them to promotion and then survival in Ligue 1.
He got his dream move to England with Leicester City in 2015 as a 24-year-old but lost none of his humility and remained in touch with his old JS Suresnes coach, Pierre Ville.
Ville told Goal of the midfielder: “He never said no, and he did not speak much.
“When he was given instructions, he would say ‘yes’, then he would leave, but he understood things very quickly. His behaviour makes the people around him take him as a little brother.”
A tiny Ngolo Kante on the far left struggling to get in on the celebrations at his childhood club JS Suresnes, in the Western Suburbs of Paris. pic.twitter.com/Se4uQ5sDWW
— Ball Street (@BallStreet) July 18, 2018