N’Golo Kante suffered a frightening health scare ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League defeat to Manchester City as he fainted at Cobham, the club’s training ground.
Telegraph Sport understands shocked team-mates were terrified Kante had suffered a heart problem when he momentarily passed out in front of them after training last Friday – just two days before Chelsea were due to face City.
Even though Kante was not found to have any heart issue and travelled with the rest of the squad to the Etihad, the scare was brought into sharp focus, as head coach Antonio Conte, his staff and the Chelsea players then learned of the tragic death of Davide Astori on the morning of the City game.
Having regained consciousness and been attended to on site, Kante was sent to a specialist for a series of cardiology tests, which, fortunately, all came back clear.
Having found no heart problems or other issues, the specialist report cleared Kante to play for Chelsea against City but the 26-year-old felt unwell on Sunday morning and it was decided to take no risks.
No specific reason was given by the specialist as to why Kante would have fainted, but it has been suggested that last week’s freezing temperatures may have been a contributing factor.
Having sat out the City game, Kante was back in at Cobham on Monday and completed a training session without suffering any problems.
Barring any fresh injury, he is expected to be available for Saturday’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace and next week’s Champions League last-16 clash against Barcelona.
Kante’s energetic style has earned him the reputation of being one of the fittest players in Europe, with Claudio Ranieri describing the France international as being Leicester City’s “battery” in their Premier League title success.
He won the FWA and PFA Player of the Year awards last season for his role in helping Chelsea lift the title, and has made 38 appearances for club and country so far this season.
Having dealt with the scare over Kante and drafted Danny Drinkwater into his team, Conte was informed on the morning of the City game that Fiorentina captain Astori, who played for him with Italy, had died of a suspected cardiac arrest.
It made for an uncomfortable and upsetting 48 hours for Conte, who wore a black armband in memory of Astori during the City defeat and admitted news of the Italian had hit him hard.
Most of Conte’s backroom staff knew Astori well, having also worked with the Italian national team, while Chelsea players Marcos Alonso and Davide Zappacosta were team-mates of the defender at Fiorentina and with the Italy.
Alonso posted a picture of himself with Astori during his Fiorentina days on Twitter with the message ‘my deepest condolences with Davide’s family and all the viola family. Rip amigo’.
Zappacosta also put a picture of Astori on Twitter with a message that read: “No word (sic), just immense pain’.