New Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has opened up on the clubs official website. He told the story of his life so far and how he made it to be a professional footballer.
He grew up in Paris and started to play football at the age of 10.
“I started football at the age of 10.
“In Paris a lot of people play football and there are some I knew who are footballers now, but not at the professional level.
“At Suresnes I learned a lot. I had good coaching at this club and it was like playing with friends.”
He had trials at professional clubs but due to his height, he was not taken on, despite his obvious talent at such a young age.
“Sometimes people maybe say I was a little small when I tried to go to these clubs but I think maybe when I was this age I did not have the quality of football for going to them. So I stayed at Suresnes until I was 19.
“Then I did a one-week test at Boulogne and that was very good. They told me I can come and play for their second team, not for their first team.
“At Boulogne I learned a lot of the technical and the tactic and this made me improve a lot. I wasn’t thinking to play in the Premier League or something like that at that stage, but when I went to Boulogne I had the ambition to become a professional football player and my ambition was to get in the first team. When I went into the first team it was a pleasure.”
When Kante turned 22, he joined Caen. The club where former Chelsea defender William Gallas made it to be a professional.
Caen had a great academy and good reputation of making players into professionals.
“But when I go there I was 22, and the reputation of Caen is to be a very good academy for becoming professionals.
“Why I go there is because it was a step forward for me because they were in the second division and I was in the third division and they go into Ligue 1 often. I knew it was a good club and for me it was a good opportunity to improve and maybe go to the first division, and that happened. I did one season in the second division, we were promoted, and it was a very good moment.”
Kante had no idea that at this point he was being scouted by newly promoted Leicester City.
He was approached by Claudio Ranieri and the French international was surprised to learn that they already knew a lot about him.
“When I joined Leicester one week before the start of the season, my feeling at the training was that we had a good team but I did not know the Premier League. When we start the season we did not lose a lot and the manager made us believe we can do very good things. We were still playing well in November, December, January, still at the top.”
He claims that winning the Premier League with Leicester helped him and his performance for France at the European Championship, although they were unlucky to lose in the final to Portugal.
“I was with the team at Jamie Vardy’s house and when we saw Chelsea losing 2-0 at half-time against Tottenham, we said now we have to be ready for the Everton game, but at the end this was a very good night.
“When I saw Eden Hazard here at Chelsea I said to him you maybe do not know but everyone thanks you.
“The performance of Leicester helped me to go in the Euros with France and we were unlucky.
“We lost in the final but it was a good experience, if a little sad at the end.”