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N’Golo Kanté talks down Ballon d’Or chances, talks up ‘many more’ good years at Chelsea

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Why not both?

TOPSHOT-FBL-EUR-C1-MAN CITY-CHELSEA-TROPHY Photo by DAVID RAMOS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

We’ve had the ridiculously great fortune and privilege to be able to watch N’Golo Kanté in a Chelsea shirt week in and week out over the past five years, winning several major trophies along the way, including the Big Ears itself last weekend.

But while for Kanté, like for many of the more experienced players in the squad, that victory represented a culmination of sorts, he’s far from done with winning and winning at Chelsea, as he told a press conference earlier today ahead of France duty at Euro 2020.

“This Champions League is the consecration of my 5 seasons [at Chelsea]. I still have two years of contract, I feel good there and I do not see myself elsewhere.”

-N’Golo Kanté; source: Le Parisien via Google Translate

And while he may not be getting any taller, he’s also far from done growing.

“This year has been difficult at times [but] We had the chance to play in the Champions League and it went pretty well for me.

“I think the new coach Tuchel allowed me to give myself more solutions on the pitch, to have more freedoms. I was able to grow in my football [but I] have to keep what I’m doing, be consistent: sometimes when I’m in the last 30 meters, sometimes to be more selfish, more precise and keep what I’m already doing. Sometimes that’s what the game asks, to know when to take a chance and be brave.“

-N’Golo Kanté; source: RMC Sport via Google Translate

We’ve seen a few rumors about a potential contract extension already, though with Kanté having turned 30 a couple months ago, it’ll be interesting to see if Chelsea relax our club policy regarding the length of extensions offered to players above that arbitrary age limit — just as we did with David Luiz and Willian. (As long as Kanté doesn’t end up at Arsenal then!)

FBL-EURO-2020-2021-FRA-TRAINING Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

But that’s not something that’s on Kanté’s mind at the moment, fully focused as he is on Euro 2020. The European Championship trophy is one of the few still missing from his personal trophy cabinet.

Another shiny bauble that surely deserves to be in there is the Ballon d’Or, and momentum continues to build behind that campaign. Of course, Kanté himself isn’t going to talk up his own chances and credentials.

“I think it’s early to talk about it now. We are in the middle of the year. We have almost six months left. There are still a lot of games and a lot of competitions to play. It doesn’t need to be said that I deserve it today, because there is still a lot of time and a lot of games to play.

“A few years ago, I was in the top ten. It was the first time, it made me happy. Afterwards, winning it is another story. Yes, it’s a great individual reward for the players. It’s not necessarily a goal or something I’m working on, but it would just be the result of a great season. And today, those who won it are players who have achieved great things throughout their careers.”

“I live [this] with a lot of distance. We had a great end to the season with Chelsea. We were focused on that. It went well for me and for the team. I don’t really care what [others are] saying [about me]. I focus on the goals of the club and the [national team].

Olivier Giroud, who was doing press alongside Kanté, revealed that they’ve been teasing him a bit in private with the Ballon d’Or talk, knowing that the attention makes him uncomfortable. In public however, they all support his claim vehemently, just as we all should. (Kanté finished 8th in 2017 and 11th in 2018.)

FBL-EURO-2020-2021-FRA-TRAINING Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Kanté of course more than deserves all the attention he’s getting, and not just because of his play on the pitch, but his behaviors and mannerisms off of it as well. We must protect N’Golo at all cost, even if he claims he’s just like everyone else.

“It is true that sometimes you can have an image that is a little too beautiful and a little too pretty. But in the end, I’m just a normal person. One of many players. We don’t have to say that I am the nicest or the most sympathetic. I’m just a player like any other.

“I think sometimes we overdo it. It doesn’t have to be like that. It’s true that I like getting along well with my teammates, having good relationships with the people I meet in the streets or in football. But then there are other people like that in football as well. You shouldn’t make a big deal out of it.”

-N’Golo Kanté; source: RMC Sport via Google Translate

On the contrary.

You’re a big deal, NG, and football should make a big deal out of it.

French national football team - Training session Photo by Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport via Getty Images