France Football magazine have awarded their ‘French player of the year’ gong to Chelsea star N’Golo Kante.
The 26-year-old announced his status as one of the world’s best defensive midfielders in the 2015/16 season, playing an integral role in Leicester City’s remarkable Premier League victory. Having only joined from Caen that summer, Kante was on the move again in 2016, this time to Chelsea.
The Frenchman made 35 league appearances for the Blues en-route to a second successive Premier League title. His telling contribution to this year’s title win as part of Chelsea has made the panel at France Football see fit to elect him as his country’s best player.
France Football also award the infamous Ballon d’Or award, and spared no expense in finding a panel worthy of choosing a winner for the French iteration of the award, which has been in operation since 1959.
David Ginola, Thierry Henry, Lillian Thuram, Zinedine Zidane, Alain Giresse, Jean-Pierre Papin, Jean Tigana and Antoine Griezmann were among the superstar names that voted on their compatriots’ respective 2017’s.
Despite scoring 26 goals for Monaco, including nine in a wonderful Champions League run while still a teenager, Kylian Mbappe only managed to finish second in the standings with 87 votes to Kante’s 92.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema was third with 52 votes.
Kante succeeds panellist Antoine Griezmann, who won the award in 2016. Other recent winners include Blaise Matuidi and three time award recipient Benzema.