N’Golo Kante admits the Chelsea players “were not prepared” for the news that Roman Abramovich wants to sell the club.
Abramovich announced on Wednesday he had taken the “incredibly difficult” decision to put the club up for sale and donate the net proceeds to the victims of the war in Ukraine.
In a statement, he said the sale “will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process”, adding he will not be asking for loans to be repaid by the club.
Abramovich’s decision came amid the threat of sanctions against further Russian businesses and high-profile individuals following the invasion of Ukraine a week ago.
The 55-year-old oligarch has been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past.
And while it was claimed last week that Abramovich has no involvement in politics, a spokesperson for the Blues’ owner suggested on Monday that he was “trying to help” achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Kante admits the players were shocked to hear the news just hours before their FA Cup win over Luton was due to kick off.
He said: “We were not prepared. It came quick. But the only thing we can do, because we don’t control these things, is to do the best as we have always done.
“That means playing football at our best for us, for the club, for the fans. It’s the only thing we control and we want to do that.”
Speaking on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kante said: “It’s sad to see things like this and we can only hope it finishes as quickly as possible.”
Kante, who turns 31 this month, is fully committed to the Chelsea cause and is not yet considering leaving Stamford Bridge.
He added: “Most of the games have passed [this season] and we’re in a good position for the top four. It’s not going to be easy — we still need to win many games.
“Since I came here, I spent many great seasons, many successes with the players, the managers, the fans.
“I hope we can carry on like this — keep winning, keep celebrating many great achievements. This is the way I see the future.”