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16th Jul 2018

What happened when N’Golo Kanté got the World Cup trophy sums him up perfectly

Too humble for his own good

Patrick McCarry

It really sums up his character

N’Golo Kanté was one of the best players of the 2018 World Cup and, fittingly, ended up on the winning side.

The midfield trio of Blaise Matuidi, Kanté and Paul Pogba controlled many of France’s matches and all played huge parts in their trophy-winning success.

Oddly, for all his class in Russia, Kante put in a very subdued performance in the final. France won 4-2 but the Chelsea midfielder was withdrawn from the fray after 55 minutes.

It has now transpired, according to sources close to Le Parisien newspaper, that Kante was very sick and played through the pain barrier. He had a bad bout of gastroenteritis (a viral infection that causes stomach pains, vomiting and, in some cases, diarrhoea) but was determined to help his country out.

He played 55 minutes of the final and won a couple of crucial tackles but his passing was off the mark and he picked up a yellow card before he was called ashore. He was replaced by Steven N’Zonzi and France re-asserted themselves on the Croats, scoring twice in the next 15 minutes.

It was a tough day at the office for Kanté but such is the high regard in which he is held that his teammates flocked to him at the final whistle.

Once the World Cup trophy was lifted, many of the French players posed for individual photos in front of hordes of press photographers. Family members and French backroom staff came onto the pitch for the celebrations.

When just about every squad member had their go, it was left to N’Zonzi to go and get the trophy for Kanté to hold. The midfielder had apparently been too shy to go and take hold of the trophy himself and asked N’Zonzi if he could get it when there was a chance.

BBC’s post-match footage shows the remarkable moment that really does sum up the player’s selfless nature.

Once he got hold of the World Cup, the posing could begin.