Former Chelsea and France defender Frank Leboeuf believes N’Golo Kante may be forced into retirement due to his recent injury struggles.
The midfielder’s hamstring issue has restricted him to making just two appearances in the 2022-23 campaign and is expected to return to action in March.
The 31-year-old, whose contract with the London club will expire in June, also missed the recently-ended 2022 FIFA World Cup, where his France team finished as runners up.
Leboeuf has now suggested that his fellow countryman may consider hanging up his boots if fitness problems persist and no suitable offers are put to him.
“I haven’t spoken to him about his fitness and how he feels but it could be that he’s nearing the end of it [his career],” Leboeuf, who won the World Cup in 1998 with Les Bleus, told Safe Betting Sites as cited by Goal.com.
“Because the thing is we have to understand that we are talking about a human being. Suddenly your body says okay, enough, leave me alone. The end of your career is also a part of your career, and you have to choose the right time to give up.
“Even if you don’t want to and even if your football is great and you want to carry on.
“You have to give envy to people and not pity. So you have to make a decision in your own mind [regarding retirement]. You have to talk to your family and say maybe okay, it’s over. So I don’t know his shape but if he feels that he can serve Chelsea well then he should stay.”
Kante could leave Chelsea as a free agent at the end of the season as both parties are yet to start contract talks.