Antione Griezmann has called for the Ballon d’Or to be bestowed on one of France’s World Cup winners, despite Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s dominance of the award over the last decade.
The 27-year-old scored four goals for Didier Deschamps’ men in Russia this summer as they stormed to their second world title, beating Croatia 4-2 in the final.
Griezmann had a stellar tournament and enjoyed a great year with Atletico Madrid at club level, winning the Europa League and finishing second in La Liga ahead of arch-rivals Real Madrid.
However, Messi and Ronaldo had typically brilliant individual seasons too. The former won a domestic double with Barcelona while the latter picked up a Champions League winners medal for the third successive year with Los Blancos, before jumping ship to Juventus in the summer.
Madrid have another strong contender for the award in Luka Modric , who has already won the Golden Ball for his exploits at the World Cup with Croatia and last month was crowned the best player of the last year by FIFA.
Despite those strong candidates in the running, Griezmann is adamant that the Ballon d’Or should be given to a French footballer in recognition of the country’s achievements over the summer.
“In this best team in the world, there must be the best player in the world, right? In any case, that’s what I think. Afterwards, there are votes, opinions, different judgements. But I think that a Frenchman must win the Ballon d’Or this year.”
The likes of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Kylian Mbappe and Raphael Varane all gave strong performances in Russia, but Griezmann appears to be the leading French candidate for the prize.
The Atletico forward also added just how much it would mean to him if he were to win football’s most prestigious individual award later in the year, stating: “For me, it’s a dream. Historically, the Ballon d’Or is the best of the best.
“There are only star players, only legends among the winners. It would be a dream to become an example to others.”
The winner of this year’s Ballon d’Or will be announced in Paris on December 3 by France Football.