Kylian Mbappe has revealed that Karim Benzema not winning the Ballon D’or would be a robbery this year as the Frenchman named his top 3 contenders for the prestigious award.
Mbappe is the only Paris Saint Germain to have been shortlisted for the award this year, following a difficult season for the club in which they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage by Real Madrid. It means that, for the first time since 2005, Lionel Messi has not made the shortlist, while Neymar also misses out.
It signals the end of the Messi/Ronaldo stronghold on the award, with the pair having won all but one of the awards since 2007 (when it was scooped by Kaka).
And now, Mbappe has had his say on who he thinks deserves the award, putting Benzema as his favourite, just ahead of himself and now Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane.
“My top three? I would say Benzema, myself, and Mané”, he told France Football.
“I would say that this year is a success for Benzema. He’s 34 years old, has just had the season of his life, has won another Champions League and is often decisive… If I were Karim, if I don’t win this, I’ll stop thinking about the Ballon d’Or forever. (laughs.)
It means that there is no place for Mane’s teammate, and Premier League top goalscorer last season Mo Salah, while Robert Lewandowski has also been excluded despite netting 50 goals across all competitions last season.
And Mbappe is convinced that, even if he is not the favourite this summer, his decision not to move to Real Madrid (where Ballon D’or winners have often come from) will not affect his chances of winning the award.
“Did I think about the Ballon d’Or when I extended my contract? Yes, of course”, the Frenchman admitted. “Real are a Ballon d’Or machine. But the most important thing is the pitch. It’s not your club that gets it, it’s you. I’m still convinced that I can win it in Paris”.
Benzema to walk home with the award?
There is little more that Karim Benzema could have done to win the Ballon D’or this season, having finished with 44 goals as he helped Real Madrid to Champions League success and a League title, scoring 15 times on their way to the final in Paris in the case of the former, and scoring 27 times with 12 assists in La Liga.
Were he not to win the accolade, there would be widespread discontent, with even rival Mbappe pointing to him as far and away the most likely candidate.
All will, of course, be revealed on October 17th.