Paul Pogba has insisted there are other France players who deserve to claim this year’s Ballon d’Or award much more than him.
The Frenchman has been included in the 30-man shortlist for this year’s award following a sensational summer during which he played a leading role in France’s triumph at the World Cup in Russia.
This year looks set to mark the first time a player other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi wins the award since Kaka in 2007.
And Pogba, when asked about his own credentials for the award, was adamant that a number of France teammates deserve it a lot more.
“Whether it’s Grizou (Griezmann), Kylian (Mbappe) or Raph’ (Varane), they deserve it much more than me,” he said.
“I can not designate one. But I hope with all my heart that this is one of the three. One of the four also because there is NG (Kante). That’s all I hope for anyway, because there are many who deserve it. I do not put myself in.”
The Ballon d’Or can not claim to be a voice of true authority over who has been the best in the world over the past year – mainly because setting a mathematical, crowd-sourced criteria for such a nuanced game is a self-defeating enterprise.
That said, it is the best we have got. And no, Pogba does not deserve the award despite his heroics in France, but one of his teammates surely do.
N’Golo Kante deserves to win the award purely because he is a source of joy to everyone around the world. Luka Modric, if you think about it, deserves to win the award having won the Champions League again and captained a country of 4 million people to a World Cup final.
But you sense the honour will fall at the feet of a 19-year-old who is, put simply, the most magical youngster I’ve seen since Messi himself: Kylian Mbappe.