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N’Golo Kante’s first words after seven-year Chelsea stay ends to join Saudi side Al-Ittihad



(Photo via Ittihad Club / Twitter)

N’Golo Kante’s Chelsea departure to Saudi side Al-Ittihad has now been confirmed and the midfielder has spoken for the first time.

Despite being offered a new contract by Chelsea, Kante will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of June when his current deal expires, which will conclude an illustrious seven-year spell in the capital.

The France international, who won the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, Super Cup and Club World Cup with Chelsea, has penned a three-year contract worth a reported €25 million-a-season in Saudi Arabia with Al-Ittihad.

An Al-Ittihad statement read: “Ittihad Club has announced the signing of French international player N’Golo Kante, the former Chelsea player who won the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2021 UEFA Champions League. Kante has signed a three-year contract with the club. The contract was finalised on Tuesday, June 20th, after Kante completed his medical tests at a specialised medical centre in Dubai. This move comes as Ittihad, who recently won the Saudi Professional League, aims to strengthen their squad.

“Kante’s addition to Al-Ittihad is considered one of the most high-profile and impactful signings in the club’s history. It is part of the club’s efforts to establish itself as a top choice for world-class players in the Saudi Professional League. The team is also preparing for a significant international tournament, the FIFA Club World Cup, which will take place at the end of this year.

“Ittihad Club wishes Kante success in achieving the club’s goals and fulfilling the expectations of all the club’s fans and supporters during his time with the team.”

Kante‘s now former teammate Reece James expressed his sadness on Instagram when his departure was announced, writing: “Good luck big bro” with a heart and happy smile emoji.

He joins Karim Benzema in Saudi after his switch from Real Madrid. The forward sent a message to Kante, saying: “Hi N’Golo. One time I told you that you’re the best box-to-box player in the world. Now I am happy to play with you again. And, of course, in the best team in Saudi. See you in Jeddah.”

Kante spoke for the first time, expressing his delight at the transfer and he is ‘very excited’ to get going in Saudi Arabia.

“Thank you, Karim. It’s nice to see you again. Thank you for your words. I’m very pleased to play with you, with the best player in the world. I’m very excited to play with the Tigers in front of the fans. Take care and see you soon.”

Deals for Chelsea trio Edouard Mendy, Kalidou koulibaly and Hakim Ziyech to move to Saudi this summer are also close to being finalised after verbal agreements were reached between the respective clubs.