N’Golo Kante has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame over the past 12 months.
Few people, certainly in England, were even aware of the Paris-born midfielder when he joined Leicester City in a £5.6 million deal from Caen last August.
But less than a year later and he’d played a pivotal role in the Foxes’ remarkable Premier League triumph and was one of the contenders to win the PFA Player of the Year award.
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Kante then secured a £32 million transfer to Chelsea, where he has already established himself as a key player under Antonio Conte.
The 25-year-old was superb in the Blues’ comfortable 3-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday and earned himself a new nickname from teammate Eden Hazard.
Kante told what Hazard has nicknamed him
Kante was conducting an interview with Chelsea TV when he was told: “We’ve just had Eden Hazard in here and we asked what it’s like playing with you and what you bring to the team.
“He said you are ‘The Rat’ - you get everywhere across the pitch and you don’t give anybody any time. Do you like that nickname?”
Kante, looking confused, then replied: “I don’t really understand what you mean.”
After realising, the French midfielder then added: “Ah! I try to give my best for the team.
“I hope to keep going in this way and hopefully the team keep winning.”
Video: Kante discovers his new nickname
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Kante makes things easy for his teammates
While the nickname might not sound entirely flattering at first, it’s safe to assume that Hazard was attempting to compliment his new teammate.
Kante makes it so much easier for attacking players like Hazard to express themselves and focus on inflicting damage in the final third of the pitch.
His sole focus is on defending for the team and protecting the back four.
Kante thanked Hazard on arrival at Chelsea
During one of his earliest interviews after signing for Chelsea, Kante revealed the first thing he said to Hazard.
“When I saw Eden Hazard here at Chelsea I said to him you maybe do not know but everyone thanks you,” the France international told the Blues’ official website.
Because it was Hazard whose dramatic equaliser against Tottenham last season ensured Leicester were crowned Premier League champions for the first time in their history.
Is ‘The Rat’ a good nickname for N’Golo Kante? Have your say by leaving a comment below.