Cole hails "staggering" Kante as he recalls moment Chelsea star proved him wrong

Joe Cole hailed the efforts of N’Golo Kante in helping Chelsea win the Champions League, revealing a story about when the Frenchman first caught his eye.

Kante was named man of the match for Saturday’s final, completing a hat-trick of the awards after claiming them for both semi-finals.

The Frenchman once again worked tirelessly in midfield to nullify any threat City could throw at them, before helping to spring Chelsea onto the counter attack.

And Cole could barely contain himself in praising Kante’s impact on the side, even ranking him higher than Blues legend Claude Makelele.

“He’s staggering. I’m shattered just watching him,” Cole told BT Sport before recounting a story about when he faced him.

TOPSHOT – Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante (C) lifts the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League final football match between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at the Dragao stadium in Porto on May 29, 2021. (Photo by David Ramos / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DAVID RAMOS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“One of my last games, my legs were gone and this lad came on, I looked at him, he’s about four foot tall, and thought to myself: ‘What does this lad do?’ – he changed the game.

“I played with Make (Makelele) who I thought was the best in that position until I saw this kid. He’s got Makelele plus extras.”

Joleon Lescott told a similar story about Kante, while he even admitted that he thinks the World Cup winner might be the best holding-midfielder of all time.

Is N’Golo Kante the best defensive-midfielder ever? Comment below

“I was at Villa, he came on and changed the game,” said Lescott. They won 3-2 and that was the year they went onto win the league.

“They’ve had Makelele, Ramires – who was exceptional, but this player. Arguably the best in that position ever to play the game.”

Rio Ferdinand was full of praise for Kante and Thomas Tuchel, while also tipping his hat to goalscorer Kai Havertz.

Ferdinand said of Tuchel: “He’s come into this country. He’s faced Pep Guardiola three times this season, he’s won all three.’

“What an absolute turn of events. I was backing Man City but Thomas Tuchel has come in and put on a tactical masterclass.

“Kante put on a masterclass in how to retrieve the ball. He controlled the ball. The moment came, clinical, Havertz is worth every penny now.

“Wow, what an absolute turn of events. Based on form and being the most dominant this year, I was backing Man City.”


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