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N’Golo Kanté should win Ballon d’Or, says Chelsea manager Antonio Conte

• Italian insists Frenchman deserves top award even more than Eden Hazard
• Playing style means midfielder ‘does not get the recognition he deserves’

N’Golo Kanté is currently more deserving of the Ballon d’Or than Eden Hazard, according to Antonio Conte, but only the Belgian has the chance to win it in his career, the Italian has said.

Speaking before Chelsea’s Premier League match at West Ham in which Conte hopes to close an 11-point gap to the leaders, Manchester City, he spoke of nurturing in Hazard the “sacred fire” that drives the top players to “win, win and win”. But he also compared himself to Kanté, who came eighth in the vote – the highest ranking for any Premier League player – and said the Frenchman deserved the prize.

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