Everybody loves N'Golo

N'Golo Kante is already revered by all at Chelsea, but his status as the highest-ranked Premier League player in the Ballon d'Or vote shows how highly he is thought of the world over.

Cristiano Ronaldo won the award for the fifth time in his career, but nobody in the English top flight finished higher than our tireless French midfielder, who was selected in eighth place.

His Blues team-mate Eden Hazard was also on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, finishing 19th, while fellow Premier League players Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho were also included.

Based on his performances in the 2016/17 campaign, few could argue with Kante's place at the top of the Premier League pile, as a brilliant maiden season with the Blues ended with a whole host of honours.

The 26-year-old was a vital part of our team as we became champions of England for the sixth time and for Kante it was a unique triumph as he was the first outfield player to win the Premier League title in back-to-back seasons with different clubs, having also lifted it the previous year with Leicester City.

He missed only three league fixtures all season and while his all-round play came to the fore, he also caught the eye with a pair of goals in all competitions, both of which came against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Although he missed out on the overall Chelsea Player of the Year award to Hazard, Kante was named Players' Player of the Year by his team-mates – just one of a number of individual prizes to come the way of the ultimate team player.

He was selected in the PFA Team of the Year and was named as Player of the Year by the PFA, Football Writers' Association and the Premier League.

The midfielder's form has continued throughout the early months of the 2017/18 campaign, despite a month-long injury absence, and he has already equalled his Premier League goal tally for last season following a well-taken strike against his old club Leicester City in September.

Although Antonio Conte believes Kante would be a deserving recipient of the award, he recognises that a player with his skillset – 'A great worker who doesn't score a lot of goals,' said the Blues boss – will always struggle to earn the highest individual accolade in football.

Former Chelsea midfielder Gustavo Poyet also discussed the qualities of Kante in a recent interviewing, declaring there is no better player in his position.

'He’s easily the best central-midfielder in the world,' said Poyet. 'He would play in a World XI, no doubt. I know there are players like Casemiro and Sergio Busquets but he’s better than them.

'He knows the game; when to stay, when to run and how to run well. He reads it so well he knows what is going to happen before he gets there.  

'That way he controls it with his incredible power and finesse; normally players like that aren’t as good on the ball as Kante is.'