N’Golo Kante believes Ballon d’Or speculation is way ahead of schedule as he tries to add Euro 2020 glory to his Champions League success.
After an outstanding performance against Manchester City helped Chelsea become European club champion, Kante wants to make a brace by guiding France to success in the coming month.
The dynamic midfielder has been tipped for football’s highest individual honor following Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over City in Porto, and his Blues teammate Paul Pogba has lent his support to the growing clamor.
But Kante said he doesn’t “pay attention” to the praise for his performances, saying on Sunday: “What I hear can be touching, but I try to do what I’ve always done: be natural and give. the best of me on the pitch.If that makes people happy, so much the better.
Asked about the prospect of winning the Ballon d’Or, Kante said: “It’s a little too early to talk about it now. We’re barely getting to halfway through the year, there are six months left, a lot of competitions to play and it doesn’t help to say that I deserve it now.
“A few years ago, I was in the top 10, it was the first time and it made me happy. To win it would be another story.
It was in December 2017 when Kante placed in the top 10, finishing eighth in the vote.
“It’s a great personal award,” Kante said of the award. “I see it as the reward for a season accomplished by a player, but it’s not a goal I’m working towards. Those who won it are the players who have achieved great things in their careers.
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Kante’s France and Chelsea teammate Olivier Giroud has little doubt the 30-year-old would be a worthy winner, describing him as “clearly a contender”.
Speaking at a press conference in France on Sunday, Giroud said: “We will start talking to him about the Ballon d’Or if we win the Euro.
“He is stressed and tense when we talk to him about it!” But that flatters him of course, even if he doesn’t like compliments too much and prefers to keep a low profile. He deserves what happens to him.
If Kante were to win the prize, awarded each year by France Football magazine, he would be the first Frenchman to do so since Zinedine Zidane.
Zidane won the honor in 1998, after inspiring the French hosts to win the World Cup for the first time.