For the second time in the space of eight days, N’Golo Kante picked up the Man of the Match award against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final.
After a 1-1 draw in Spain, Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to book their place in the final of Europe’s elite competition where they will face Manchester City.
Goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount sealed the victory but it was a completely dominant display by Thomas Tuchel’s side.
At the heart of it was the energetic N’Golo Kante, who ran an ageing Real Madrid midfield ragged.
What a display.
Then, after helping his side reach the final and picking up the Man of the Match award, Kante was seen leaving the stadium driving his beloved Mini Cooper.
What a guy.
Just another reason why we should all worship Kante.
And it prompted us to create an article of 18 reasons why Kante is the most loveable and humble guy in football. And there are probably many that we’ve missed out.
Let’s take this moment to hail Sir N’golo Kante.
He trained as an accountant
Early in his career, Kante was playing in the lower reaches of the French league. Becoming a professional was far from his mind so he decided to turn his hand at an alternative source of income.
“I was at Boulogne, in the second team – the sixth, then the fifth division,” he said.
I wasn’t professional, so I kept studying because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make a living as a footballer.”
“When I was 18, I got my baccalaureate [the French A-Level equivalent] and after that I did two more years of study in accountancy.
“When I went up to the first-team, I became professional, so I stopped studying. I got my qualification in accountancy, but now I prefer to concentrate on football.”
He’s grateful to have the best job in the world
Having almost become an accountant, the pleasures of being a professional footballer isn’t lost on Kante.
“We are lucky to be playing football for a living,” he told the Daily Mirror in August 2018. “For me, this is what I have always wanted to do. To get to this level is all down to Allah’s blessing,” he said.
“There are millions of people out there, who every day want to get the opportunity to do the work we are doing and it’s a short career. That is why I give it my all at every given opportunity.
“To play for your nation on the world stage is worth more than money can ever buy, and I get to do that, so I am very fortunate.”
He had to be stopped from running to training
There were rumours that Kante used to run to training at Leicester. While those rumours turned out to be false, Jamie Vardy revealed that it wasn’t for a lack of trying on Kante’s part.
“One day he said to us that he was seriously considering running to the training centre each day, which came from the fact that he would always add a little running session for himself.
“In the moment, we were all a bit taken aback and convinced him not to.”
His drove his Mini Cooper despite crashing it
Perhaps one reason why Kante wanted to run to training was that he’s a terrible driver. Despite earning £300,000-per-week, Kante loves his £20,000 Mini Cooper so much that after crashing into a lorry in January 2018, he still turned up to a match with it in a complete state.
“His wing mirror was smashed and his front wheel arch was all dented,” a fan who witnessed the accident told The Sun.
“He must have been pretty annoyed but he was more than happy for fans to take selfies with him.”
Days later, he turned up to training in the same damaged car.
I’ve never been someone who loves a car and when I was young I didn’t have the ambition of a car or something like that,” Kante previously told reporters.
“But my Mini, for the beginning, was good to learn to drive on the left. I got it in Leicester and I still have it now. But it’s good.”
He allowed Leicester teammate to stay with him for a month
Former Leicester defender Cedric Kipre revealed Kante allowed him and his brother to stay at his after having an issue with his apartment.
“I lived at N’Golo’s house for a month when I was at Leicester,” Kipre told Goal. “I had a problem with my apartment and he hosted my brother and me. Not everyone would have done it, and it was really nice of him.
“Today, I’m proud to have met someone like him. There is nobody more humble than N’Golo.”
His smile while riding a bike
Just look at his face.
Refused to set up an offshore tax company
When Kante signed a huge contract worth £300,000-per-week in November 2018, he insisted he would pay his full share of tax after rejecting Chelsea’s suggestion for him to pay through an offshore company.
Upon hearing the story, Kanté’s France team-mate Blaise Matuidi said: “I didn’t really follow this story, but I’m not surprised because it is N’Golo. He’s perfect, he doesn’t cheat. Just a bit when he plays cards.”
Cheating at Uno
Speaking of which…
Cameras caught Kante cheating at Uno while on a plane with his France teammates. Kylian Mbappe certainly found it funny…
Happy even when he rage quits FIFA
One thing is clear, Kante is competitive.
When he lost three games in a row on FIFA to Callum Hudson-Odoi and found himself 4-0 down, he did what we all would do and rage quit. He still couldn’t help smiling, though.
His reaction when Chelsea fan met him
Telamsile Dlamini got the chance to meet her favourite player through the Willow Foundation. And Kante made it extra special with his humble reaction before giving her a signed shirt.
Urged referee to stop the game after injuring opponent
When Kante inadvertently injured Joe Bryan’s head, the Chelsea man urged the referee to stop play so he could be treated.
Showing up at a Chelsea fan’s wedding
Back in September 2019, Kante turned up at the wedding of a Chelsea fan’s daughter after originally turning down the invite.
“We became friends when I was introduced to him by a friend and he came to my restaurant Chak89,” Frank Khalid explained.
“I invited him and originally he couldn’t attend because of his commitment to the French national team, but because of his injury he messaged me saying he was coming.
“My family and myself are very close to N’Golo and he was one of the first people to visit me when I had my triple bypass surgery operation in April 2018.
“He stayed till the end and was so nice to everyone and signed autographs and took selfies with the guests.”
He consoled an upset Arsenal fan after beating them
Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-2 back in August 2018 and Kante felt the need to apologise to a Gooner the following day.
Eats curry and watches MOTD with fans
When Kante missed his Eurostar train back to France, he Googled the nearest Mosque to St Pancras and prayed.
Arsenal fan Badlur Rahman Jalil recognised him there and explained how it ended with Kante coming back to his to watch Match of the Day.
“I went to the mosque on Saturday evening to pray and we just prayed together. It’s Islamic teaching to invite guests to your house for dinner, so I asked him,” Badlur said.
“He came with me and my brother because he was on his own and said he was only going to go home anyway.
“He was on a protein diet so we had a chicken curry. He even had a cup of tea.
“He beat us all at Fifa and then we watched Match of the Day. It was a really nice evening.”
Not getting involved during initiation
When Benjamin Lecomte did his initiation song for the French national side, the whole squad got involved by waving their white handkerchiefs around in the air.
Kante? He just sat there and enjoyed the performance.
Don’t tell him he stopped Lionel Messi by himself
After France knocked out Argentina at the 2018 World Cup, the French players created a song for Kante that contained the line “he is small but he stopped Lionel Messi.”
However, Kante corrected them and insisted: “No, no, no – we did it together as a team.”
Being too shy to lift the World Cup trophy
Imagine becoming world champion and being too shy to ask the other players for the chance to take photos with the famous trophy. Luckily, Steven N’Zonzi spotted Kante’s struggles and put the trophy in his hands to get those treasured images.
Driving Mini Cooper after reaching Champions League final
So, back to Wednesday night and Kante was seen leaving Stamford Bridge following his incredible performance driving his Mini Cooper. Is it the same Mini Cooper that he crashed years ago? Knowing Kante, it probably is.
CHELSEA MAKE THE 2021 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL! (The Football Terrace)