Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is a better player than club legend Claude Makelele, according to Nemanja Matic.
The Frenchman’s style, which is typified by an ability to win the ball back and push his team on, has similarities with his countryman Makelele, who had a holding midfield role named after him following an illustrious career.
But Matic has dismissed the comparison as he is adamant Kante has already surpassed Makelele due to the “extra quality” his new teammate possesses.
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“Makelele was a great player and we all respect him, me especially because I know that position and how it is difficult to play.
“But I think that N’Golo is better than him. He is doing his defensive job very well and with the ball he has some extra quality.
“He is very important for us, especially in that position.
“You have to give balance to the team and he knows how he needs to do that job. He is very important for us,” Matic insisted.
Kante’s arrival appeared to be Matic’s place at Chelsea in jeopardy but the Serbian is adamant he is committed to Conte’s side after holding talks with the Italian coach pror to the start of the season.
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2/4 Chelsea vs Aston Villa (December 2012)
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“I spoke with him and we both decided that it was best for the club and for me to stay.
“I’m very happy because I’m now here with this team and this club.
“I will give my best and all my quality to help the team to challenge for the title,” he added.
Chelsea travel to Swansea on Sunday afternoon aiming to extend their unbeaten record and potentially, depending on how results go elsewhere, climb to the top of the table for the first time this season.