N’Golo Kante

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Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante sues former agent for fraud

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PARIS — The Paris prosecutor’s office says France midfielder N’Golo Kante has filed a lawsuit against his former image agent, citing fraud and breach of trust.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

The complaint filed this week by the Chelsea midfielder against Nouari Khiari also includes “attempted fraud” and “illegal exercise of the profession of sports agent.”

According to L’Equipe newspaper, which first reported the story, Kante was introduced to Khiari by friends and family members. The pair started their working relationship in July 2016 but tensions quickly arose and Kante decided to put an end to their partnership a year later, accepting to pay 150,000 euros for Khiari to severe their professional ties.

According to the sports daily, Kante claims that his former associate kept all the copies of their deal and later pressured him to get more money.

Another cause for their deteriorated relationship was Khiari’s attempts to influence Kante’s career choices. L’Equipe said the agent tried to convince Kante to move away from Chelsea during the 2018 summer to join Real Madrid.

“I was too kind,” Kante told L’Equipe. “I wanted to believe in this person’s honesty and sincerity. But he was only driven by the financial aspects.”

LIVE, UCL: Liverpool 1-1 Napoli after Chelsea draws Valencia

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Both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur secured a berth in the Champions League knockout stage yesterday, and now the Premier League looks to Chelsea and Liverpool to do the same.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Chelsea has an early 12:55 p.m. ET kick as they head to Spain, an absolutely vital match as Chelsea sits level on seven points with both today’s opponent Valencia and group leaders Ajax. While they cannot officially secure advancement today, victory at Mestalla Stadium would be a massive step towards doing so, leaving them at the brink of qualification.

Christian Pulisic starts again for the Blues with N’Golo Kante and Tammy Abraham also in the lineup as Frank Lampard looks to secure a significant advantage over a clogged Group H crowd.

Liverpool is home against Napoli where victory would indeed clinch a spot in the knockout stage. A draw would also do the trick should Jesse Marsch’s Red Bull Salzburg fail to win on the road in Belgium. The Reds suffered a 2-0 loss in Italy back in mid-September and will look for revenge against a Carlo Ancelotti side in slight turmoil, having failed to win any of its last six matches across all competition.

Elsewhere, Barcelona can also clinch a knockout round spot with victory at the Nou Camp against Borussia Dortmund. Marco Reus is back from injury for Dortmund, but Paco Alcacer is not with the squad to face his former club after suffering a gash to his knee. These two teams played to a 0-0 draw back in mid-September but the German side will know that a draw here could leave them vulnerable in Group F with Inter hot on their trail with a visit to Slavia Prague.

Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League schedule

Group E
Liverpool v. Napoli
Racing Genk v. Red Bull Salzburg

Group F
Barcelona v. Borussia Dortmund
Slavia Prague v. Inter Milan

Group G
Zenit St. Petersburg v. Olympique Lyonnais (12:55 p.m. ET)
RB Leipzig v. Benfica

Group H
Valencia v. Chelsea (12:55 p.m. ET)
Lille v. Ajax

Man City rises above Chelsea challenge

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Manchester City came back from the break with vigor, overcoming an early Chelsea goal to beat its Top Four rivals 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scored for the two-time reigning PL champs, with Rodri getting an assist before heading off with an injury.

[ MORE: Grading Pulisic’s day at the Etihad ]

Sergio Aguero also limped off the pitch late for the City, who remains nine points back of leaders Liverpool.

N’Golo Kante scored for Chelsea, whose 26 points are good for fourth place and an 11-point gulf below Liverpool.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]


Three things we learned

1. City’s not dead: The reigning champs City went behind early and inspired some worries that the shine might’ve left the big game hunters, but De Bruyne and Co. were composed in building City back into the lead. Guardiola’s three-man midfield of Rodri, David Silva, and De Bruyne dealt well with the ball and in the more than 50 percent of the game that Chelsea had it, while Riyad Mahrez was pretty great in addition to his wonderful, decisive goal. City boosted its goal differential to a joint league-best 23 (Leicester City).

2. Two more significant injury worries for City: Rodri left the match after 52 minutes and Aguero was carrying a heavy limp when he left the match for Gabriel Jesus. The Argentine then had a talk with Guardiola on the touch line to seemingly let him know the limps weren’t for show. Rodri is a bigger concern, but neither player can miss too much time as City’s title margins are oh-so-slim.

3. Chelsea’s trophy odds change camps: A lot can happen in 25 match days and it would be stunning if a team of the Blues quality dropped out of the Top Four, but the idea that the Blues can erase 11 points of Liverpool lead and have that happen without Man City taking similar advantage of a Reds collapse is a bit wild. Frank Lampard wouldn’t be wrong to think about prioritizing the UCL on occasion when sorting his lineups. We’ll be happy to eat our words and crowd Lampard “King of World Football” if today didn’t sound Chelsea’s PL title hopes death knell.

Man of the Match: Mahrez — His goal was a reminder of his status as one of the Premier League players of the decade, the one-time Leicester City hero. Next-up status for Kovacic and De Bruyne.

What a goal.


Fernandinho hit a scintillating early through ball to help Aguero set up De Bruyne for a hard shot that dragged just wide of the goal.

Willian missed a similar chance at the other end in the same fashion, off the far post by inches.

Kante claimed a lead for Chelsea raced between Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho to collect a wonderful Mateo Kovacic pass and beat a screened, charging Ederson.

De Bruyne leveled the score in the 29th, cutting to make room atop the 18 and slapping a shot that took a hard turn off Kurt Zouma to make it 1-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Mahrez made it 2-1 when he took a Rodri pass and scythed between Emerson and Kovacic to lash past Arrizabalaga.

And Aguero was in prime position to score after Arrizabalaga passed the ball right to him, but the City man smashed off the cross bar.

The second half saw life for both teams, but City was again at the wheel for most of it.  Sterling didn’t have a day to remember, but his clinical side-footed finish of a stoppage time flick was delightful. Unfortunately, it was chalked off by the slimmest of margins.

Early news positive on fresh N’Golo Kante injury

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N’Golo Kante has struggled mightily for playing time under new Chelsea manager Frank Lampard. Not because of any aversion to his services by the new boss, but instead due to a lack of fitness this season as nagging injuries continue to pile up for the French midfielder.

After Kante was a late scratch ahead of France’s eventual 1-0 win over Iceland in Euro 2020 qualification, there were yet more concerns that the 28-year-old would again be forced to the sidelines for an undetermined stretch of time.

“He felt a pain in the adductor muscle,” said France head coach Didier Deschamps after the match. “He had a feeling where he did not feel comfortable to play. ‘I made the decision [to pull him from the squad], because maybe it could get even worse.”

Thankfully for Kante, Chelsea fans, and neutrals hoping to see one of the best midfielders in the game settle in to a consistent role at Stamford Bridge, Deschamps gave some good news on his immediate future in the aftermath of the win.

“I do not think it’s too serious for NG, but I do not have an answer tonight,” Deschamps predicted.

In fact, Deschamps didn’t rule Kante out for contention in France’s big game against Turkey on Monday in Saint-Denis. The head man was even in a jovial mood after the victory, taking a harmless shot at Lampard and joking that he could parlay with the Chelsea boss. “Lampard asked me not to pick Kante at the last rally. If it’s still that way, maybe I’ll call him later to tell him it would be nice if you play Olivier Giroud a little bit.”

For Kante, hearing his injury could be shaken off is a massive positive. The midfielder has appeared in just four Premier League games this season with three starts. He missed three games with an ankle problem and also sitting out a game with a hamstring issue suffered in training. He has yet to appear in an international match since March, and missed out on summer action thanks to knee injury, including a disappointing 2-0 loss to Turkey in Antalya.

Chelsea’s Kante pulled from France lineup after injury in warm-ups

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Just as N’Golo Kante’s health allowed a return to form, his frustrating season has carried over to his national team.

The dominant French midfielder was pulled from the starting lineup on Friday after suffering a muscle injury in warm-ups.

[ MORE: EURO qualifying wrap ]

Few details have been released, and Chelsea did not mention the player or his injury in their Friday recap of international action.

Kante, 28, missed four matches with a sprained ankle earlier this season with Chelsea, but has two goals in his last three matches. Both came in the Premier League against Liverpool and Southampton.

He has 38 caps and a goal for Les Bleus, as well as a World Cup title.

France faces Turkey in EURO qualifying on Monday. Chelsea has Newcastle United on Oct. 19 at Stamford Bridge before visiting Ajax in the UEFA Champions League.