Kylian Mbappe has revealed that he is backing France teammate Karim Benzema to take home the 2022 Ballon d'Or.
Real Madrid star Benzema is a public favourite to finally win the award. The 34-year-old has taken his game to new heights following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and led Real to La Liga and Champions League glory with a haul of 44 goals and 15 assists in just 46 games last season.
In an interview with L'Equipe, Mbappe confirmed that he would be backing Benzema at the award show and admitted the veteran forward should be a guaranteed winner.
"He is 34 years old, has just had the season of his life, won another Champions League and was usually decisive," Mbappe explained.
"If I'm Karim, and I don't win this one, I'd stop thinking about the Ballon d'Or forever."
When asked for his top three, Mbappe chose to back himself to improve on last year's ninth-placed finish.
"I would say Benzema, me and [Sadio] Mane," the PSG forward admitted.
Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Sean Walsh bring you Talking Transfers, discussing Man Utd's transfer market implosion in targeting deals for Adrien Rabiot & Marko Arnautovic, Man City's stance on selling Bernardo Silva to Barcelona, Wilfried Zaha's future and more. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.
If you can't see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!
Mbappe was later asked why he is yet to make it to the final three in the Ballon d'Or voting, and while he conceded that the early years of his career were not strong enough to justify such a lofty finish, he insisted times have now changed.
"I believe that my 18-21 years allowed me to stabilise myself in the top ten," he said. "I was not a sufficiently impactful player.
"For the last two years, however, I think that I have taken a step forward. I have a more assertive status on the pitch, I am doing better in key matches. In short, I am a more credible, more serious candidate.
"Before, I was a curiosity and my place in the top ten was a great reward, but now I definitely want more. I believe that, now, I am one of the four or five names that come up regularly."