Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has insisted he would love N’Golo Kante so he can add a Champions League to his trophy collection.
Kante lifted the Premier League with Leicester and Chelsea, and the World Cup with France, but the European crown for best club has so far avoided it.
The 30-year-old will assume a central role in Chelsea’s semi-final second leg with Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge, with the scores locked in at 1-1 from the first meeting.
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Blues boss Tuchel asked Kante to drive Chelsea again on Wednesday night, hailing the midfielder.
When asked if finishing the set by winning the Champions League would elevate Kante’s career to new heights, Tuchel said, “Where to go? Where to breed?
“The guy is a top guy, and he’s the guy you need to win trophies, obviously that’s why we’re so, so happy he’s here.
“I was fighting for this player and I dreamed of this player in any club I coached. And now he’s my player.
“He won all the trophies except the Champions League, I hope he will do anything to get this trophy.
“For me, this is an example and an incredible contribution for any team in the world. He is key and he will be tomorrow, and hopefully in the best possible way.
Kante’s tireless performances have made Tuchel purr ever since the German stepped through the gate at Stamford Bridge.
The former Paris St Germain manager believes Kante’s workload represents that of two players and that he has produced his best form in recent months.
However, Kante is as shy off the pitch as he works hard there, and this humility commands the utmost respect from his teammates and opponents alike.
Tuchel praised Kante for being the personification of letting his feet speak, with his family demeanor contradicting his abilities as a superstar.
“He still has to accept that I hug him, I do that a lot!” I need it for myself, so he has to live with it! Tuchel joked.
“He’s a nice guy, almost shy, he’s calm, he likes his own quality time, he’s not loud. I see him smile a lot, and he will interact with anyone but on his own terms.
“He’s very shy but very polite, and I’m so happy that players like him exist. And expressing yourself through pure performance is a pleasure to watch.
“What he does with that mentality is the mentality of a real assistant, who will always give anything to help everyone on the pitch.
“He’s such a nice, humble, calm guy, that’s a fantastic combination.”
Mateo Kovacic failed to shake off his hamstring injury in time for Wednesday’s clash, but the former Real Madrid midfielder is Chelsea’s only missing injury.
Toni Rudiger will wear a mask so he can play despite a recent facial injury.
New Chelsea number 10 Christian Pulisic will face his Stamford Bridge predecessor once again when Eden Hazard returns to west London on Wednesday.
Tuchel joked last week that US striker Pulisic drew special attention to himself by tackling Hazard’s former number at Chelsea.
But now Tuchel has explained how the move only serves to show Pulisic’s long-term bristling ambition.
Tuchel said: “Absolutely, it’s a good thing this decision to take this number.
“It sets the tone and shows the determination, the dreams Christian wants to achieve and his own demands on himself. This is a very big part of his decision.
“The downside to that decision is that people will always compare you with any number 10 in the world, and with the numbers 10 at a big club like Chelsea.
“So that’s the downside and you have to live up to it. But right now he’s in a good position and he’s having a huge impact on our team.
“So all is well and we can be very happy tomorrow if he continues to make his mark.”