Debate about who should win the 2018 Ballon d'Or has largely focused on Kylian Mbappe, Luka Modric, Antoine Griezmann, Mohamed Salah, and how Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not really in the frame following a 10-year duopoly of the iconic award.


Mbappe and Griezmann both won the World Cup and enjoyed club success. Modric, meanwhile, received the World Cup Golden Ball as the tournament's best player and won the Champions League with Real Madrid. And Salah scored 44 goals in his debut season for Liverpool as well as reaching the Champions League final.

France  v Holland  -UEFA Nations league

There has been much less talk about Raphael Varane, a player whose achievements in 2018 arguably make him more deserving of the ultimate individual recognition than anyone else.


The root of it is the fact that of all the nominees put forward by France Football, the publication presiding over the Ballon d'Or, Varane is the only one who has won both the World Cup and the Champions League this year. The other main contenders won just one or the other, or neither.


"There is only one player that has won the Champions League and the World Cup and he is called Varane," three-time Ballon d'Or winner Michel Platini said last month.


"He is an excellent player, very good. I would vote for him, results are the only objective thing and everything else is subjective. You can have your opinion of Griezmann, Mbappe, Giroud, Lloris, Modric...but the only player to have won everything is Raphael Varane."


Varane played every minute of France's victorious World Cup campaign, even captaining the team in the draw with Denmark that ensured they topped the Group C, while he also later scored the crucial opening goal in the 2-0 quarter final win over Uruguay.


As far as his role with Real Madrid is concerned, the 25-year-old was an ever present in the Champions League knockout stages. He was injured the night that Los Blancos were humbled by Tottenham at Wembley during the group stage, showing his importance in his absence.


Defenders are often overlooked when it comes to individual accolades, with Italy World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro the last to win the Ballon d'Or in 2006. Matthias Sammer and Franz Beckenbauer are the only other defenders to win in more than 60 years of the award.

Claudio Villa Archive

But Varane has played a crucial role in winning the two biggest trophies in world football in 2018 and if that isn't enough for a defender to get Ballon d'Or recognition, nothing will be.


The 2018 Ballon d'Or winner will be announced by France Football on Monday 3rd December.