EPL 2016/17: Claude Makelele hopes N'Golo Kante will be better than him

The Frenchman has already established himself as the best in his role
Nicolai Nayak
Modified 19 Sep 2016

Former Chelsea player Claude Makelele says N'Golo Kante could become the best holding midfielder in the world, but believes his countryman will have to work hard to become an ace in his position.

Makelele who was an integral part of the Les Bleus side that reached the 2006 World Cup final is hailed as one one of the best defensive midfielders of his generation. Known for breaking up opposition play and providing a screen for the back four, the former French international was at his best during his time at Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Also Read: Chelsea vs Liverpool: 5 Talking Points

As his career came to an end, Makelele returned to his country for a short spell with club Paris Saint-Germain before announcing retirement. The 43-year-old was asked by UEFA's website about which active player he considers being the best in his old role. 

"It is a position where it is difficult to play," he said.

"You must be a leader. You must work with your team-mates in midfield. I like N'Golo Kante, but is he better than me at this? I do not know. He still needs time to fully learn the job, to learn about football."

Signed from Ligue 1 second division side Caen, Kante was one of Leicester City's most noteworthy players last season and helped the Foxes’ to a shocking Premier League triumph. With 125 tackles and 156 interceptions in 33 matches, the Frenchman anchored Leicester City's midfield and also won Leicester's Player of the Year award.

"He is a young player I really like, and I hope he will be better than I was," former Blues favourite Makelele said.

Makelele made a name for himself as a holding midfielder, and his role involved breaking up the play and initiating counter attacks. The midfielder's success at Real Madrid and Chelsea was credited with the name 'Makelele role' referring to his defensive duty.


Kante’s similar role during Leicester's unbelievable triumph earned him a spot in the France Euro 2016 team and a big money move to the Blues. Although the 25-year old hasn't replicated the heroics of last season, Kante is already a pivotal member in Antonio Conte's midfield.

Kante is in line to face former club Leicester City in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

Published 19 Sep 2016, 20:45 IST
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