Chelsea have butted heads a few times in the path year with our former player turned France national team manager, Didier Deschamps over the handling of N’Golo Kanté, but there’s synergy these days when it comes to the midfielder’s unique situation.
Kanté had spent much of the past twelve months struggling to stay healthy for any decent length of time, which led to some unfortunate situations and some back-and-forth sniping around his international call-ups, especially when he picked up one of those injuries while away with France.
But right now, all are in agreement that Chelsea are handling Kanté’s situation in the best way possible given the unprecedented times and the player’s concerns over contracting the coronavirus.
(Though he’s now returned to train individually at Cobham, away from the rest.)
Some encouraging news for Chelsea fans. N'Golo Kante has been running and training on his own to keep fit at the club's training ground. No return to any form of group training as yet. Full story to follow on @TeleFootball— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) May 28, 2020
For Deschamps, N’Golo opting out is leading by (quiet) example, just as he does on the pitch.
“Not only do I understand this, but I find the case of NG exemplary. He is whole, kind. He always has a smile. There, he expressed his feelings. I tell him: respect. It is good that his club heard him and granted his wish.”
“Football is their job and their passion. But they cannot be carefree about the current situation without being worried.”
-Didier Deschamps; source: RMC Sport via Google Translate
While football might be just another business at the end of the day, for the footballers themselves it’s literally their body and health that is the solitary source of their capital. Putting that at added risk, while also risking others in close contact around them — even with the extra degree of testing and other preventative measures taken thus far — is good enough reason for a few to not put their lives and livelihoods on the line during these uncertain times.
This is certainly a luxury that some professionals can afford. Other professionals, especially those in health services, cannot. This pandemic might be a great opportunity to start questioning the extent our societies have become attached to the continuous work of standing capital to keep economic flow and growth beyond necessary goods and services, not to mention our constant demand for endless entertainment at whatever cost to keep ourselves distracted.
But I digress.