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Kante shows he can mix it in elite company as he shackles Messi

When N’Golo Kante first turned up in England, it wasn’t at an elite club, it was not at giants like Manchester United, Arsenal or Liverpool, nor was it at well-monied Manchester City or Abramovich backed Chelsea but at Leicester City. The club had worked hard to scout the French market and continue to do so, and the clubs chief scout picked out Kante, who had recently been playing in the French 8th tier, as a future star.

As has been a theme though for Kante throughout his career, not everyone was sold on his talents. As a young player in France, many worried that he was too small and thus few clubs were willing to take a gamble on him, despite his obvious footballing talent. For Leicester, then new manager Claudio Ranieri had a similar worry and had to be convinced by Walsh that he was the right man for the club.

Eventually, the Italian decided to trust his scout, and the rest, as they say, is history. Kante was a key figure in Leicester shocking the world and winning the Premier League at 5000-1 odds. He could stop any midfield, he could win the ball from any player and it looked as if there were two of him on the pitch at times.

It was the result of the century and for the select gamblers who put money on Leicester City, they were richly rewarded. Football has always lived hand in hand with gambling as illustrated by the range of slots games there are inspired by the beautiful game. It might be hard to get as lucky as the fans who bet on the Foxes to win the title but Soccer Safari online slot gives people a chance to try. If you like soccer and you like slots, then it is a magic game.

He was brought in to replace Esteban Cambiasso, a player who shone as Leicester avoided the drop, and somehow he managed to look even better than the Champions League winning Argentinian.

Chelsea then decided to snap him up and he managed to steer them to a league title as well, leading to him winning the PFA player of the year award for his tireless performances and his ability to cover the pitch more like a blanket than a human. Questions though still remained, the Premier League is all well and good, but could he do it at the top level. In the Champions League, the biggest club competition in the world. It’s all well and good doing it against West Brom and Bournemouth but what about Barcelona.

Well on Tuesday, he went some way to showing that, even in rarefied company, he could still do what he does best, win the ball, disrupt the other team and provide a metrenomic presence in the centre of the park. As Chelsea took on Barcelona, the Frenchman was on Messi like a rash. Messi is, of course, the best player in the world, yet Kante managed to keep the pressure on him and keep a tail on him for most of the game.

He also gave Iniesta a lot of trouble, the ageing superstar in Barcelona’s midfield was disposed three times in quick succession by the French dynamo and at times looked a little overwhelmed. Chelsea almost played the perfect game as they made it very tough for Barcelona to breach their defences while also going into a 1-0 lead.

It could have been even better for the London side, if not for Willian hitting the post on two separate occasions. The Brazilian was very unlucky as where his side. Their slip came when Andreas Christensen passed across his own goal, a soccer no-no most children learn at a young age, before it was picked up by Iniesta who slid it to Messi who managed to caress the ball past Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

It was the one time Messi really got away from Kante, who was in a more advanced position, as his teammate Christensen had the ball in space with plenty of time. It would be pretty harsh to blame him for such a large mistake made by his teammate. Kante kept a clear head and had a few small changes in the opposition half but couldn’t quite pick out the pass.

Chelsea then head to the Nou Camp looking to surprise the Spanish giants. One thing is for sure, Kante will not be phased by the challenge.

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