Rio Ferdinand has named N’Golo Kane as the most valuable player at Euro 2020.
Chelsea midfielder Kante was crucial in the Blues’ run to Champions League glory, winning Man of the Match awards in both the semi-final matches against Real Madrid and the final against Manchester City in Porto.
The energetic 30-year-old has formed a dynamic partnership alongside Paul Pogba in central midfield for the world champions, and Ferdinand believes Kante is the key piece as Les Bleus seek European Championship glory.
“I’d go as far as to say he’s the most valuable player in this tournament, if not in Europe completely,” the former-Manchester United defender told the BBC. “I think a big part of his game is he surprises you.
“I know we all know him, but there’s elements of his game where he comes out of nowhere because he’s so quick, he anticipates things so well. He’s the MVP.”
On a frantic final day of the group stage, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored twice as France drew 2-2 with Portugal to finish top of Group F.
Ahead of their last-16 match with Switzerland, who finished third in Group A, France head coach Didier Deschamps vowed there is more to come from the 2018 World Cup winners.
“In terms of points, we are first. Maybe other teams gave a better impression than the French team but now it is a new competition that starts,” said Deschamps.
“The first match against Germany was really important for us and to win this one point against Hungary allowed us, even before this match, to be qualified but I said to the players we don’t want to do any calculations because we don’t want to take any risks.
“We have seen everything could change very quickly in this group. Of course, we didn’t do everything well all the time and we can improve some things.
After receiving a surprise recall to the national team, Karim Benzema scored his first international goals since 2015 and the Real Madrid forward was pleased to hit back at his doubters in the clash with Portugal.
“I knew as soon as I would be in the national team, the critics would come out – that is part of the football game but I never give up,” Benzema said.
“As soon as I put my feet on the pitch I want to score and today I managed to do that, but I am training a lot. It was always like that, even when I was a little kid.
“Today everyone was waiting for this goal and that was some kind of extra motivation for me. Of course, there is another pressure when you play for your club because it is your whole country – but for me, it is a great pleasure.”
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