You Kante deny him 4th spot.
My colleague Nick recently brought up the idea of who is the 4th best player in the world - accepting that Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar occupy the top three slots in whatever order you see fit. It’s a good question and tough one to pick. Nick’s article and choice of Toni Kroos can be viewed here but for me it’s got to be Chelsea’s workhorse, N’Golo Kante.
Writing down the list of players I felt were deserving of the 4th spot I found I was doing nothing but listing forwards and attacking players. Goals are not what the top player award should be based on, that would be for the top striker list. This is trying to pick the top players as a whole. I started exploring players like Buffon and Chiellini but as much as my heart would like to give it to the living legend that is Gigi Buffon, my head couldn’t let me ignore the Frenchman.
Kante was instrumental in Leicester’s title winning season two years ago and was quickly snapped up by Chelsea that summer. He has since improved further and built upon his game to become a guaranteed starter for Chelsea ensuring he won the PFA player of the season for 2016/2017.
I like the fact that my choice for fourth best player isn’t a star striker or goal machine, but a hard working, and skillful workhorse with a far more defensive role than most on the Ballon d’Or list. Last season he played more games and more minutes than Kroos and also completed more passes than the player who Nick has christened as the “pass master” (*cough* Xavi *cough*). I would also argue that there is nobody to adequately replace Kante in the Chelsea midfield and while Kroos is exceptional, you have the likes of Isco, Asensio, and Modric who can easily step to fill the void so in that sense I rate Kante as more important to his team than Kroos.
Kroos is definitely more of an attacking player but under the tutelige of Conte, Kante has greatly improved his attacking abilities and seen him more willing to press forward and create chances for his side whilst still having the ability to retain and more importantly regain possession in the middle of the field. This is why he’s my pick for 4th best player in the world behind the holy trinity.