Chelsea legend Claude Makelele has been continually compared with summer signing N’Golo Kante, and the former Chelsea midfield general believes Kante lacks the leadership qualities he had during his playing career.
“What I like about him is that he’s very generous,” Makelele told SFR Sport of Kante, after the game between Chelsea and Swansea.
“He plays with a smile on his face, and that’s an exceptional quality. I really hope he has a better career than mine, but he still needs that leadership.
“That doesn’t mean be a captain, but to have an aura within the team that when they look at him, they think ‘We’re going to win’ or when he speaks to them, they go ‘You’re right.’ When he has that aura, he’ll be an exceptional player. That’s when he’ll become a regular for France.”
But former Newcastle and West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop took exception to Makelele’s comments and claims Kante has already reached an incredible level.
“I have to disagree [with Makelele],” he told ESPN.
“As much as I don’t think there’s anybody better to judge N’Golo Kante than Claude Makelele, I’m not sure what he’s getting at here and let’s be honest, these are two very similar players.
“And Claude Makelele, given what he’s achieved and the teams he’s played for I think has earned the right to pass that criticism.
“But N’Golo Kante came in to Leicester City from lower division French football and won a title with a team that had just barely survived the year before.
“He then goes to Chelsea, a Chelsea team that were defending champions and then just barely finished in the top half, and now are runaway leaders in the English Premier League.
“There’s no doubt that N’Golo Kante has had a big role to play in that, especially when you look at Leicester’s troubles this season.
“N’Golo Kante’s performances and record since coming to this country speak for themselves.
“I don’t agree with Makelele and what he has to say about N’Golo Kante and I say the proof is in the pudding.
“Fantastic player and a leader on the park in a different and more assertive way than Kante but let’s remember that Makelele played alongside Zinedine ZIdane almost everywhere he went and he was a leader.
“I don’t think it’s a fair comparison. Kante has not had the good fortune to play with anyone anywhere as near as Zinedine Zidane,” Hislop said.