Chelsea today says goodbye to club legend N’Golo Kante, with the midfielder to join Saudi Professional League side Al-Ittihad at the expiration of his contract.
The 32-year-old played a decisive role throughout his seven seasons at Stamford Bridge and lifted the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
The World Cup was also claimed with France in 2018, but as Kante’s medal collection swelled, he remained understated, humble, and immensely popular with team-mates, coaches and supporters alike.
Co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said: ‘N’Golo’s impact and influence during his time at Chelsea cannot be overstated. His tireless performances in midfield contributed to several trophy wins and has guaranteed him a place in the club’s history. We wish him well as he embarks on the next chapter in his career.’
Kante arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2016 having played a key role in Leicester City winning the Premier League title. He instantly settled into the Chelsea midfield and his ball-winning ability was fundamental to Antonio Conte’s team securing an unexpected league crown.
Such was the France international’s influence across the 2016/17 campaign, he was named PFA Player of the Year, the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season.
At the end of the following campaign – which ended with an FA Cup final triumph over Manchester United at Wembley – Kante was named Chelsea Player of the Year by supporters.
Kante’s game evolved during his time at Stamford Bridge and he played in a more advanced midfield role en route to Chelsea winning the 2019 Europa League. The Frenchman, despite nursing an injury, starred in the final in Baku as Arsenal were beaten.
An injury-impacted 2019/20 was overcome the following season, which ended with Chelsea being crowned as European champions for the second time. Kante was extraordinary in the knockout stages, winning player-of-the-match awards in ties against Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and after Manchester City were beaten in the final.
Thank you for everything, N’Golo.