As the World Cup in Qatar approaches, so does the annual award that honours players.
There were exciting performances this season that threw up new players into the top hierarchy. Fans are eager to see who wins the award for best player in the world.
All eyes will be on players who lit up the UEFA Champions League this season. Several new players came on the scene with commanding displays, yet there are few fears that the controversies that dogged past awards would rear their ugly head.
The top clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich have players on the list, and it would be interesting to see if a new winner will emerge this year. One of the nominees has had a say on the 30-man shortlist released by the organisers. Kylian Mbappe had plenty of praise for Real Madrid, the team that knocked PSG out of the Champions League and eventually won the trophy.
A 30-man nominee shortlist for the Ballon d’Or has been released. The list includes players with varying degrees of performance last season and has reignited the argument of who is the best player on the planet. While tongues wag over the list, the notable absentees are also a point of discussion.
Kylian Mbappe is on the shortlist but has had a few takes on the upcoming ceremony. The Paris Saint-Germain forward, whose side crashed out of the Champions League in the round of 16, has praise for Real Madrid. The comments from the France international comes off the back of a failed move to Los Blancos this summer.
Mbappe believes Real Madrid are a Ballon d’Or machine and claims his France teammate Karim Benzema ought to win the award this year. Real Madrid has produced players that have won the award in the past, and Mbappe believes this year should be no different. He has put his weight behind Karim Benzema. He alludes that the Ballon d’Or would lose credibility if Frenchman fails to win it.
With 30 names on the shortlist, two stars were conspicuously missing. The PSG pair of Lionel Messi and Neymar were not on the list. The two players had a season to forget as they failed to deliver on the big stage. Lionel Messi even missed a penalty in the tie against Real Madrid, contributing to their ouster in the competition.
Mbappe also fancies his chances for the final three. When asked who he believes should make the final shortlist, the PSG forward told L’Equipe it should be himself, Karim Benzema and [Sadio] Mane. While Mbappe carried PSG for much of last season, it is doubtful he would make the final three.
Karim Benzema had a fantastic season. It was by far his best season since he joined Real Madrid. Benzema moved up to second behind Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time scoring charts for Real Madrid with his 324th goal for Los Blancos on Wednesday night against Eintracht Frankfurt. He was also the top scorer in the Champions League and La Liga. He also finished with the second highest assist in La Liga.