N’Golo Kante is quite possibly the most universally loved footballer on the planet right now.
You’d do well to find a single football fan with a bad word to say about the loveable French midfielder, whose humility and shy nature is rare to see in such an elite-level player.
Kante is one of the best holding midfielders in the world - if not *the* best holding midfielder in the world - so it wouldn’t be surprising if he was a little more arrogant.
The 27-year-old, though, doesn’t seem to possess an arrogant bone in his body.
Many stories have emerged over the past few years which confirms Kante’s status as one of the most humble players in football.
For example, earlier this year he drove to training in his £20,000 Mini Cooper, two days after crashing it. The front wheel arch had been completely torn off the car, while his left wing mirror had been reattached by gaffer tape, but he refused to splash out on a new car.
It was also revealed earlier this month that Kante opted against partaking in a scheme that would have seen him pay less tax in the UK because he simply wants a normal salary.
"Of course, I think that I am really very proud of him for the salary [decision]," Sarri told reporters at Cobham Training Centre after hearing of Kante’s decision. "I didn't know it. I read it yesterday or two days ago. N'Golo is this. He is like this and I am very proud of him."
Kante was recently on international duty with world champions France and amusing footage has emerged of the midfielder turning up late for a squad meeting at Clairefontaine.
Kante explains to Didier Deschamps that he was late because of his train - and the France boss came back with the perfect response.
"But N'Golo,” Deschamps replied, “you are faster than the train."
Brilliant. Knowing the engine Kante has on him, Deschamps was probably only half joking.
Watch the meeting (in French) by skipping to 0:40 here...
On a similar note, Kante didn’t think he even needed a car when he joined Leicester City back in 2015.
“With N’Golo Kanté expected to be named the Professional Footballers’ Association’s player of the year on Sunday, perhaps this is an appropriate time to share a little‑known story, passed on by one of his old team‑mates at Leicester City, that fits in neatly with the way the Chelsea midfielder goes about his business,” Daniel Taylor wrote in the Guardian in April 2017.
“A lot is made of the fact Kanté prefers to drive a Mini rather than operating with the fleet of dream machines that other members of his profession consider essential. But it turns out that when Kanté first arrived in Leicester he was not even sure he needed any wheels.
“Kanté, the story goes, reckoned it was possible to run into training every day and had to be persuaded that it wasn’t usually done that way in the Premier League.”
Never change, N’Golo. Never change.