Is This Chelsea Superstar Really Better Than Their Legendary Midfielder?

Claude Makelele

One of the iconic aspects of the Chelsea team that became a global superpower – after the arrival of Roman Abramovich – was Claude Makelele. The Frenchman was reportedly let go by Real Madrid after their president Florentino Perez was not impressed with the ‘marketability’ of the little Frenchman who lacked the good looks of David Beckham or the skills of Zinedine Zidane.

Makelele, though, went on to play a huge role in Chelsea’s history. He was so successful at his role of breaking up the play that eventually, it became the ‘Makelele role’. There have been very few occasions of a role being named after a player and it shows the scale of his achievement.

Jose Mourinho brought in John obi Mikel as a potential successor to Makelele, but these were huge boots to fill. Mikel was just about able to fill the spot, but he was never a true successor to the great Frenchman. A number of different players were tried in this position with little success, until now. N’Golo Kante was brought from Leicester City for £30 million on the back of one good season with the reigning Premier League champions. Kante was a relative unknown when he joined Leicester from Caen in the summer of 2015 for around £5.6 million.


At 25 years of age, he is perfectly poised to give his best years to Chelsea. One of the greatest strengths of Makelele was being able to read the game way ahead of his teammates and opposition. This invariably enabled him to be in the right place at the right time even though he was not blessed with a lot of physical prowess. Kante may have a similar physical stature, but he is blessed with incredible pace and stamina. The midfielder’s ability to keep on going through the 90 minutes – and possibly more – can only be matched by a few in the game.

His current central midfield partner, Nemanja Matic, who has been able to successfully depose Cesc Fabregas from the starting line-up, even goes as far as saying that Kante is better than Makelele. Only the time will tell if this statement is true or not because let’s face it, Kante only had one good season and it is too early to judge him for the rest of the new campaign.

During his five years with Chelsea, Makelele managed to win the Premier League twice and the FA Cup once. Kante, meanwhile, only has the solitary Premier League medal he won last season. The Frenchman is extremely good, but he has a long way to go before matching Makelele’s stature at Chelsea.

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