Real Madrid’s midfield is the envy of most sides in Europe. Even the very best would love to have Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro in their ranks.
Yet last week against Chelsea that trio was overshadowed by one man: N’Golo Kante.
The 30-year-old was at his best against Los Blancos in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Christian Pulisic was on target for the Blues and Karim Benzema struck for the home side.
Kante’s ability to read the game coupled with his energy and mobility caused the trio of Kroos, Modric and Casemiro problems.
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If he wasn’t stepping in to reclaim the ball on the edge of his own penalty area, the Frenchman was making runs into the final third and breaking past the Real Madrid midfield with the ball.
“There was a lot of praise for Kante,” AFP’s Spanish football reporter Tom Allnutt tells football.london. “The idea of dynamism in the midfield is a very live point at the moment in Spain.
“Obviously in Modric, Kroos and Casemiro, Real Madrid have a legacy three and they won so much together. But at some point, they are going to have to stop.
“And Barcelona, their midfield has been an issue for three or four years. The question continue to be asked as to whether Sergio Busquests is mobile enough defensively to stop counter-attacks, especially in big European games?
“So there is somewhat of a longing for a player like N’Golo Kante because he is a midfielder that can be everywhere and perform multiple roles in one game.”
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