Idrissa Gueye considers Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante to be “the best in the world right now”, with the Frenchman becoming an iconic figure in the David Beckham and Claude Makelele mould.
Everton star Gueye admits that he grew up idolising legendary figures at Manchester United and Real Madrid.
He has, however, shifted his focus since becoming a professional himself, with Kante now held up as being the complete package when it comes to defining the ultimate performer in a holding role.
“When I was younger, my hero was former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham,” Gueye wrote in a column for Sport 360.
“I watched him all the time on TV. But as I got older and developed into a defensive midfielder, I started to follow other players who played in my position.
“Claude Makelele is probably the one that most people remember because he excelled in that role for Chelsea, Real Madrid and France. He won the ball back superbly well and got his team playing.
“Around that time, Gennaro Gattuso also did that job well for AC Milan and Italy.
“Now everyone is talking about N’Golo Kante. Last season, he helped Leicester win the title and looks set to do it again with Chelsea. For me, Kante is the best midfielder in the world right now.
“We both came to England at the same time. On the same plane in fact! He was signing for Leicester, and I was signing for Aston Villa.
“We were both excited by the challenge ahead and while we didn’t talk specifically about the season in front of us, we were both aware of the positions each club had found themselves in during the previous year.
“It was a massive moment for both of us because we were realising our ambitions to play in the league we had both grown up dreaming of playing in.”
Gueye is currently readying himself for a Premier League meeting with Manchester United but he will get the opportunity to cross paths with Kante again before the season is out, with Chelsea due to visit Goodison Park on April 30.