Released by Chelsea last summer - captain believes he is new team's only 'great player'

Salomon Kalou has become a popular star player at Lille and captain Rio Mavuba has highlighted his talent recently.

Last summer Chelsea decided that they would not offer a new contract to a number of players - one of which was Ivorian international Salomon Kalou.

The forward spent the majority of his time at Stamford Bridge playing second fiddle or out on the wing, despite considering himself a striker.

With that in mind, despite flashes of his ability, he never truly got off the mark for the club - and his stay in London is probably considered a disappointment.

He moved to France last summer with Lille on a Bosman deal and has so far not looked back.

After a slow start he finished last season in incredible form.

His form for Lille last season was impeccable - in particular in 2013.

Kalou played 15 times for Lille this year and scored an impressive 12 goals in that period - often as the lone front-man.

This season has not been so good for the player on a scoring front - with just three goals in 15 appearances for the club.

But that has not stopped him receiving vast acclaim from his own captain this weekend.

Lille have been in great form this season - and sit in second place behind Paris Saint-Germain.

But their captain Rio Mavuba believes that Kalou is their only world class player:o

"Apart from Salomon Kalou, there are no great players. We are obliged to work to advance and make the results. If we work like that, it will be difficult for our opponents. It is a very good start to the season but ... Our goal remains a place in the top five."

That was at the weekend, and Lille won again last night by beating Marseille at home. Kalou again did not find the scoresheet - but among the heavy-spending of Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco Lille - with Kalou and the hard work of others - are right in the mix, potentially ready to cause an upset in Ligue 1 this season.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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