N’golo Kante is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the world currently and probably the nicest who comes from a humble beginning.
But aside the aforementioned, did you know that the World Cup and UEFA Champions League Winner used to wander the streets of Paris cleaning up dirt and looking for valuable waste with his dad?
Here are the hidden but interesting part about Chelsea’s midfield dynamo, N’golo Kante.
Given his position, you’d think Kante’s childhood idols were some defensive midfield generals, central Midfielders with long of steels and high football IQ. Guys like Claude Makelele or Lassana Diara.
Basically, players he often has been compared to. But even though he loves Diara, Kante is a huge fan of Ronaldo, the Brazilian.
“Ronaldo, the Brazilian. I would put on DVDs of his goals on the computer and watch that”
“We would watch the videos of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho and we tried to reproduce the same thing on the pitch.”
“They’re players who I really like; along with Maradona.” – N’golo Kante, 2021.
Having won the world cup title, Two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one Europa League and now the UEFA Champions League, it’s obvious that Kante’s career has been glorious.
That’s a massive accomplishment for a player who didn’t play topflight football until 2014. But in another dimension, he could be said to be playing in France.
Because back in 2015 while playing for Caen, he already had more than a few offers on the table and he was able to consider one of the eventually.
“Among the club who wanted to recruit me were Leicester and Marseille. I thought I had to go through a stage in France.”
“I remember the generations of Frank Ribery, Samir Nasri and Mamadou Niang and it was a team I liked, especially in the Champions League.” – N’golo Kante, TheSun, 2017.
Thomas Tuchel also wanted to sign him for PSG but Kante wasn’t interested.
“I knew in the past that there was some offers from Paris Saint-Germain when he (Tuchel) was the manager, but I was not interested.”
“It didn’t happen and I was happy at Chelsea and I stayed there.” – N’golo Kante, chelseafc.com, 2021.
He’s working wonders for Tuchel at the Bridge after all.
Kante Is Malian Too
N’golo Kante may have won the world cup for the French national team but he never thought he’d even play for them.
During his one and only season with Leicester, Kante had serious doubt about his ability to suit up for Les Blues.
So he confided in his assistant coach Steve Walsh.
“I want to play for Mali because my parents are from Mali.” – The SundayTimes, 2017.
But he forgot about it and decided to play for France instead. The decision he took having consulted Steve Walsh who told Kante he’d get into any team even if there’s a World XI.
And rightly so, two years after, Kante made the FIFPro XI and won the World Cup.
He Escaped Tax Evasion
A list players like Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria and more have been accused of tax evasion but only one name would have to be excluded from that list, N’golo Kante.
When he signed for Chelsea, the club wanted to pay 10% of his salary to an offshore account which would help lower the amount of income taxpay.
Well, given the juicy manner in which it appeared, almost every footballer would’ve simply said yes. But Kante said “No, thank you.”
Kante in his inflexible self outrightly rejected the offer and noted that the setup proposed to him could be questioned by the tax authorities.
When the story later broke, Journalists asked his French teammate Blaise Matuidi what he felt about Kante’s position and he gave a swift response.
“I’m not surprised. He just being N’golo. Everything’s perfect, he’s not a cheater, except a little in card games.” Matuidi said.
Meanwhile, Kante responded in an epic manner. “I’m not a cheat at card games. I’m a competitor and those who lose like to give others a bad rap.”
Kante Is An Accountant
Due to Kante’s unselfish nature, he’s got to employ a lawyer to handle his contracts but in the actual sense, the 30 year old World Cup Winner is a qualified accountant.
It all started when he was still playing amateur football in France. Speaking to Sky Sports in 2017, Kante revealed how he became an accountant.
“I was at Boulogne, in the second team – the sixth then the fifth. I wasn’t professional so I kept studying because I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to make a living as a footballer.”
“When I went up to the first team, I became a professional so I stopped studying”
“I got my qualification in accountancy but now, I prefer to concentrate on football.” He said.
He Could’ve Chose To Play Rugby
Kante is sauce a great athlete but the football world has got to be thankful he chose the round leather game over rugby because he really could’ve succeeded in any sport.
When he was in school, his teachers tried him out at Rugby.
“I tried to tackle the man and my teacher said “when you were at the tournament, the scout from the club said you have good spirit, good condition, maybe you can play rugby.” – N’golo Kante, The SundayTimes, 2017.
Simplicity In His Choices
Unlike many other sports superstars who loves to drive fast Lamborghinis and Ferraris, Kante is not someone like that.
It’s a trait that’s followed him through his whole career. At Boulogne, instead of driving to training, he would ride a kick-scooter. And sometimes, he could actually run from his house to training.
He tried to keep up this habit when he moved to Leicester but his friends and teammates told him he had to get a car.
So, he got a second hand car which he still drives till today. Even after crashing the car on his to a match against Arsenal in 2018, his wing mirror was smashed and his front wheel arch was all dented, be still drove the damaged car to training two days later and gladly took selfies with fans with it.
Also, Kante reportedly has a smartphone that has a broken touchpad and when asked about why he didn’t change the phone, he said “it works, why should I get another one?”
Kante is a sweetheart!
He’s Full Of Surprise
Kante stunned the football world in 2019 when he appeared at a fan’s wedding. He was invited by Frank Khalid who is a popular Chelsea fan and owns a restaurant in UK.
They had met in a French just a few months earlier and that was when Frank invited him to his daughter’s wedding.
“Originally, he couldn’t attend because of his commitment to the France national team but because of his injury, he messaged me saying he was coming.”
“He stayed till the end and was so nice to everyone and signed autographs took selfies with the guests. N’golo is such a diamond.” – Frank Khalid, The Sun, 2019.
But this isn’t the first time he’s made a fan’s night. In 2018, he missed his train back to Paris after a Chelsea match and decided to visit the local mosque and prayed.
He met an Arsenal fan in the mosque who invited him to his home for a dinner. So, alongside some Liverpool fans, they wined and dined, played FIFA and saw a game together.
Kante Is A Shy Guy
Winning the World Cup is the greatest level any footballer could attain; it’s a massive achievement that every player would want to be documented with a photograph.
But for N’golo Kante, he was too shy to ask for a photograph with the trophy when he helped France conquer the world the world in Russia in 2018.
It was Stephen Nzonzi who grabbed the trophy from other teammates and gave to Kante to take pictures with.
But there’s no photo of Kante celebrating with his teammates out of the town. Because Kante was reported to be in his house sleeping after winning the trophy while his teammates party.