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UEFA Men's Player of the Year nominee: the case for N'Golo Kanté

The Chelsea and France midfielder is one of three nominees for the 2020/21 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award.

N'Golo Kanté is on the three-man shortlist for the 2020/21 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award. UEFA.com analyses why he is in the running alongside Kevin De Bruyne and Jorginho.

Men's Player of the Year nominees

Why he was nominated

The French midfielder's influence at Chelsea was tempered by playing an unfamiliar role then injury before Thomas Tuchel’s arrival heralded a renaissance that was nothing short of sensational.

Playing in the German coach's 'double six' alongside Jorginho, Kanté was at his destructive best in their UEFA Champions League run. The 30-year-old dominated the central areas, being named Player of the Match in both legs of the semi-final against Real Madrid then the showpiece success over Manchester City.

Does Kanté make your Fantasy team?

2020/21 in numbers

Kanté's Player of the Match final display for Chelsea
Kanté's Player of the Match final display for Chelsea

Achievements
UEFA Champions League winner, FA Cup runner-up

UEFA Champions League

Appearances: 13
Goals: 0
Assists: 1
Player of the Match awards (KOs): 4

UEFA EURO 2020
Appearances: 4
Goals: 0
Assists: 0
Star of the Match awards: 0

Domestic league
Appearances: 30
Goals: 0
Assists: 2

Top three performances

Chelsea 2-0 Atlético de Madrid
The game that really showcased the unfancied Blues' UEFA Champions League credentials. One-nil up on the Liga leaders from the first leg, the form of Luis Suárez still presented a real test. Kanté passed it with flying colours, controlling the middle of the pitch and blunting the Spanish side’s attacking intent.

Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea
A brilliant all-round performance as the Frenchman covered every blade of grass at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, allying his usual defensive steel with some velvety attacking play. Eden Hazard once said playing with Kanté was like playing with twins; here Zinédine Zidane’s men met the triplets.

Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea
Kanté made it three Player of the Match performances from three in the UEFA Champions League final, acting as a wall in front of Chelsea’s back three. Is there a better midfielder in the world? César Azpilicueta was asked after this one. The Chelsea skipper's one-word answer contained two letters.

Last year's winner

Robert Lewandowski won the 2019/20 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award. The Bayern striker scored in every game en route to the UEFA Champions League final in Lisbon, picking up 15 goals and six assists as well as the trophy he had coveted for so long. He also hit 34 goals in 31 Bundesliga matches and six in five German Cup games.