Chelsea star N’Golo Kante reveals ‘a lot of setbacks’ made him player he is today as he remembers early career struggles


N’GOLO KANTE credits ‘a lot of setbacks’ and early career struggles that helped him become the player he is today.

Kante is considered one of the best midfielders in the world and has won medals in the Premier League, Champions League and World Cup.

N'Golo Kante after Chelsea's Champions League win


N’Golo Kante after Chelsea’s Champions League wincredit: getty

But it wasn’t always plain sailing for the humble and soft-spoken star, who played as little as the French third tier in 2012.

It has been a long road to success for the Frenchman, who faced rejection in his early days before an astonishing meteoric rise after signing for Leicester in 2015.

Kante, 30, told Chelsea’s website: “To get here, to join Chelsea, to join the French team, was a long journey with many setbacks.

“From a young age, training centers did not accept me, and I failed several times in my attempts to join professional teams.

“It’s just to be grateful for my visit; I miss all the people I’ve met, and everyone who wanted this career, to make a living out of football.

“I succeeded, and it’s all about enjoying it. It’s knowing how far I’ve come and enjoying it, and going as far as I can.

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“One thing I’ve been told here is that once you get to Chelsea, the main objective is to win the title.

“Actually we have that in mind from the beginning of the season, we work on it throughout the season, and that motivates us.

“Every time we train, every time we play, our focus is on winning. If things can go as well as they have been in the last few years, that’s great for me and all Chelsea fans Will happen.”

Thomas Tuchel is the fourth manager Kante has played at Chelsea, and has been dubbed a ‘Superman’ by the German.

And Tuchel named the game of chess and the long nap as key elements to the Frenchman’s success.

He said: “When I say he switches on the pitch, he’s really the guy to turn the pitch off.

From a young age, training centers did not accept me, and I was unsuccessful several times in my attempts to join professional teams.

N’Golo Kante

“He can be so quiet, almost shy, play his rounds of chess, he can sleep for hours and hours, and relax.

“So he works hard but he rests really hard, and that’s probably the key to his success. He’s totally humble, and totally cool and a nice guy.

“Once he is in top shape, not injured and is mentally in a place where he can rely on himself physically, it has such a huge impact.

“He’s like one and a half players, like a minimum extra half. We feel like we have two N’Golos, one on offense and one on defense.

“He is helping everyone off the field and don’t forget that he gives a lot of confidence to everyone around him and lifts everyone up.

“So what can I say? I am happy and very lucky that he is in our squad.

Chelsea managers Thomas Tuchel and N'Golo Kante


Chelsea managers Thomas Tuchel and N’Golo Kantecredit: EPA


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