Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack says it is too soon to label N’Golo Kante the best midfielder in the world.
Kante won the Premier League with Leicester City last season and looks set to do so again with the Blues, having moved to Stamford Bridge for £30m in July.
Ballack has been impressed with the 26-year-old’s displays, but believes he still has much to do before he is considered the game’s finest midfielder.
“He suits Chelsea perfectly and I think he could play for any team in the world with his style,” said Ballack, who was speaking to FourFourTwo on behalf of BT Sport.
“His reading of the game is fantastic and he’s very similar to [Claude] Makelele in the way he wins the ball in the holding role.
“However, I don’t think he’s the best midfielder in the world; there are many top midfielders in the game and I still think he has to improve a lot before we can single him out and call him the best.”
Chelsea face Manchester City in the Premier League on Wednesday night as they bid to put Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace behind them.
Antonio Conte’s side remain seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham, but Ballack admits he did not expect his former club to triumph before the season began.
“I thought City would win the league,” he added. “Chelsea had a bad season last term and I don’t think anybody expected them to turn it around like they have done. They have dominated and Conte has done a fantastic job.”
The former Germany international also believes City boss Pep Guardiola will have been surprised by the competitiveness of the Premier League in his first season in English football.
“I think the big thing that will have surprised him is that after 80 minutes, you can be 2-0 up but the game is still not finished. Teams fight until the end and you don’t get that in other countries – it’s a very difficult division to win.”
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