Neil Humphreys: Level-headed Kane is better than Rooney
Spurs striker brings no personal baggage to game
Geeks love stats. Purists love perfectionists. Psychologists love sporting sociopaths.
Harry Kane ticks only two of those boxes. He's the best of his generation because he brings no personal baggage to his game.
He's the most accomplished finisher since Alan Shearer because he's so decisive. He's better than Wayne Rooney because he's so boring.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker is so bland he's practically a caricature. His long face, slicked hair and child-like grin belong in a cartoon. That deep voice belongs to a slightly dim-witted character in a slapstick comedy.
Kane is anything but dim-witted, quite the opposite in fact. He just wants to play. And when he plays, he reaches parts of a penalty box none of his peers can reach.
His perfect hat-trick in Spurs' 3-0 win over Apoel Nicosia in the Champions League yesterday was even delivered in the way it rolls off the tongue - left foot, right foot, header.
Kane gives the impression of a man who folds over the corners of his bed sheet every night. His world is precise, clinical and flawless.
That final characteristic is critical.
All strikers score hat-tricks at some point. Most don't knock them in as often as Kane - his treble against the Cypriot side was the ninth of his Spurs career - but a finisher's job is to finish. The clue is in the title.
But Kane's remarkable level-headedness sets him apart. Every game seems to be played in a giddy, purple haze, like a toddler discovering a football for the first time, dashing around, shooting on sight, constantly grinning.
But then, in post-match interviews, Kane answers questions with all the excitement of a chartered accountant at a conference. He's never fazed. He's never arrogant. And he's never particularly interesting either.
But that's the point. With a poignant twist of fate, Kane's meteoric rise coincides with the steady fall of his predecessor.
In the same month that the Spurs striker took another step towards the stratosphere, Wayne Rooney was found guilty of drink-driving. He threw another grenade at the man in the mirror.
Rooney's eye for goal was matched with a knack for self-harm. His career will end with an asterisk - on and off the pitch - and it would be naive to suggest that the two aren't linked.
Anyone who has ever suffered personal problems at home knows they spill over to the work place.
But Kane appears blessed with a different psyche. There is no self-destruct button.
His unflappable demeanour was tested at Euro 2016, where the hapless Roy Hodgson had his only goal-scoring threat taking corners, but Kane emerged unscathed.
He missed seven weeks of last season with an ankle injury. Critics spoke inanely about "mental tests" and "career blips".
Kane returned and scored 47 goals in 44 games for Tottenham and England.
He's moving beyond conventional football measurements and into comic-book territory typically reserved for Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Like those two giants, Kane is now producing silly stats that defy belief.
In 2017, he has scored 34 goals. In 2017, Crystal Palace have scored 26 goals.
The native North Londoner has outscored six English Premier League clubs.
It's the stuff of legend. It's the stuff of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
So the connections are inevitably being made. Ronaldo is winding down. The only way is up for Kane.
Tottenham's former apprentice must replace the ageing master at Real Madrid.
But Kane's bright future comes with a complexity thanks to his simplicity.
Unlike a young Ronaldo, he's already playing for his boyhood club. Like a young Messi, he's exactly where he wants to be.
Kane was born and raised in North London. He's breaking records in North London. Like Messi, he has no compelling reason to leave, apart from the obvious caveat.
Messi won every honour that a one-club man can win. Kane may rival Messi and Ronaldo, but Tottenham will never rival Barcelona or Madrid.
The only controversy, of sorts, that Kane must face will be each and every transfer window for the foreseeable future. He'll either be accused of lacking ambition or lacking loyalty. Stay or go, he'll need a flak jacket.
But those are issues beyond his control. Everything that falls within his purview, he handles with remarkable maturity.
Whether it's transfer speculation, those mini-droughts in August or a centre back's elbows, Kane brushes them all off.
Regular mental challenges are about as troubling as dandruff.
Despite being a complete centre forward, an old-school English No. 9 in the most positive sense, he has an almost Germanic focus and devotion to his job.
Kane is the finest English striker since Shearer because he doesn't really behave like an English striker at all.
Zidane waxes lyrical over Real after beating Dortmund
They may be stumbling in La Liga but European champions Real Madrid were "brilliant" in their 3-1 victory over in-form Borussia Dortmund, said coach Zinedine Zidane.
Real, who have dropped to sixth in the Spanish league, seven points off leaders Barcelona after six matches, were in sparkling form yesterday morning (Singapore time), outclassing the German Bundesliga leaders who had conceded just one goal in their first six Bundesliga matches.
It was also Real's first win at Dortmund after three defeats and three draws.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who last week started his first league game of the season following suspension, scored twice and Gareth Bale added another as they punished the German side for giving them too much space.
"We played a great game from start to finish. We could have scored more. We had chances," said Zidane, who led Real to the first-ever back-to-back Champions League titles in the past two seasons.
"We had a spectacular game, a brilliant game. The important thing is to score more than our opponents and we did that.
"I am delighted for Ronaldo and Bale. The side worked hard. The midfield worked very hard. I am extremely happy because they played a tremendous game."
The Frenchman also praised his players for a focused and disciplined performance and for not losing their cool when Dortmund pulled a goal back early in the second half through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to make it 2-1.
Said Zidane: "We started well, the first half was brilliant as was the second. We showed authority.
"We had some difficult moments after the break but we played them out. It was perfect." - REUTERS