Kante kicking on in new magazine

The latest edition of Chelsea, available now in print and digital format, features an exclusive interview with the PFA and FWA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante, who discusses his role in the team and his first experiences of playing Champions League football.

The magazine also hears from Blues legend Steve Clarke, new Chelsea Ladies signing Maria Thorisdottir and our former club photographer Hugh Hastings, who covered the team’s fortunes for many years.

It can be hard to believe Kante has only been playing Premier League football for just over two seasons given the consistency and quality of his performances.

The French midfielder has been outstanding since moving to Stamford Bridge from Leicester City in the summer of 2016, and it is no coincidence both of his two seasons in the English top flight ended with him collecting Premier League winners’ medals.

So significant was Kante’s impact on the Chelsea team last season, he was named PFA and FWA Player of the Year, and he reflects on the achievement in the latest edition of Chelsea.

‘It was a special experience,’ he tells the magazine. ‘To add my name to the list of winners was a big honour. When you see the other winners, there are a lot of big players. I started as a boy and worked for a long time to become a professional, so to add my name to a list with those kinds of players was really, really good for me.

‘To do a speech was a little bit difficult, in front of everyone – the writers, the players and to do that in English was a little bit more difficult, but I tried to choose simple words and thank everyone.’

In the early weeks of the current campaign, Kante picked up where he left off with his dynamic style of play continuing to benefit Antonio Conte’s team. His display in our recent Champions League win over Atletico Madrid, Kante’s 50th Chelsea appearance, was particularly impressive.

‘It’s my first season in the Champions League and I enjoy to play this kind of game,’ he says. ‘Against Atletico we had a really good game, we made a lot of chances, we deserved to score first, but they did, and we reacted very well to that to win the match.

‘The manager changed my position. We played three midfielders and I needed to play a little bit further forward than my normal position, and I tried to traverse the attack of Atletico. It was a good game for the team.’

The 26-year-old also provides an insight into his hobbies and interests away from the field of play, which include reading, as well as explaining why he could have become an accountant had his career taken a different path.

‘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,' Kante confirms. ‘At this time, I was at Boulogne, in the second team – the sixth, then the fifth division. 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, but when I went up to the first team, I became professional, so I stopped studying.

‘I got my qualification in accountancy so there are some things I can understand more easily because of it, but now I prefer to concentrate on football!’

Fantastic memories

Steve Clarke made 421 appearances for the Blues and won the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge, as well as becoming a firm favourite of the Chelsea supporters.

The Scot is the subject of this month’s ‘Amazing Adventure’ feature, where he looks back on his 11-year spell at the club and explains how his move to Stamford Bridge came about. Clarke also discusses why so many of his former team-mates have gone into management and recalls a special goal against Liverpool.

 

Settling in

Maria Thorisdottir signed for Chelsea Ladies ahead of the new season and this month’s magazine features an in-depth chat with the Norway international, who talks about the step up in quality and the sense of pride she felt after playing in the team’s first game at Kingsmeadow. Thorisdottir also explains why she is looking forward to visiting Stamford Bridge.

 

What else?

Elsewhere, the magazine looks back on the Chelsea career of Roberto Di Matteo, the man who scored in two cup finals for the Blues and led us to Champions League glory, through a selection of images.

On a similar theme, having covered the club’s fortunes for many years, Hugh Hastings digs out a selection of his favourite images, which include a famous trip to Highbury in 1984 and a stunning shot of Peter Osgood following his return to the club.

Larry Nance Jr, a basketball player for the LA Lakers, is the subject of this month’s ‘One of Us’ feature, with the American discussing his friendship with Thibaut Courtois, sitting among the home fans during our away win at Tottenham earlier this season and playing as a striker before making the decision to switch sports.

The latest edition of Chelsea, priced £3.25, is available from the Megastore and all good newsagents.