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The only Ligue 1 survivor among the 30 nominees for the 2022 Ballon d’Or, Kylian Mbappé has never stood on the podium of the prestigious individual distinction, despite four consecutive nominations (7th in 2017, 4th in 2018, 6th in 2019 and 9th in 2021).
Although his Paris-Saint-Germain teammate and current winner, Lionel Messi, was not selected, the French striker gave an interview to France Football, in which he confesses his relationship with the Ballon d’Or. If Kylian Mbappé obviously evokes his dream to one day win this trophy, he does not forget to double his Real Madrid compatriot, Karim Benzema, who should normally win the 2022 edition of the Ballon d’Or.
His first memory of the Ballon d’Or
“As for everyone of my generation, the Ballon d’Or is necessarily associated with the battle between Leo (Messi) and Cristiano (Ronaldo). Digging very deep in my memory, I also remember Ronaldinho (winner in 2005) a bit. But Frankly, it all gets squashed by the two wolverines who shared the prize for so long. Every year, like every year, I wondered which one of us would get it. When you think about it, this matchup was pretty crazy. Back in the days of ceremony, it was fun to see them when they were next to each other. And try to guess, from their faces, which of the two looked better, more angry or upset because he knew he didn’t win.
How to become “balloonable”?
“You have to be a total, complete player. That not only stand out for its statistics. You are not necessarily the best player in the world because you score 60 goals in a season. It helps, but it’s not enough. “Also, in my opinion, you have to show that you are capable of doing a lot of things, in a lot of different situations. There are a lot of great players, very strong in one area. But the “globe” for me, has to be more than just a great player. . He must have a fairly wide range. He must be resolute, even when his team is not so good. Especially when it is not so good. There are enough of them to be able to destroy the game almost alone. That is why we also pay them dearly. (Smiles.) The top player must also give impetus to an entire collective, make the crowd rise.In fact, a Ballon d’Or must be the prototype of the perfect ballon d’or player, the one that as many children as possible want to identify with because he is strong everywhere. almost. For a year, he will represent footballers from all over the world. This reference, therefore, must be irreproachable, without weak points”.
His first nomination in 2017
“Frankly, I was super proud. Barely of age, I was already associated with these ‘big names’. It may seem anecdotal, but for me, it was something serious. A real step. . I am one of the best.” I received my great player certificate. It was official. You enter a first category: those who have someday been part of the thirty best players in the world. to an elite, to a caste. There are those who are part of it and the others. And I was part of it, at 18.”
His absence from the podium
“I think that my period of 18-21 years allowed me to stabilize in the Top 10. I was not a sufficiently ‘shocking’ player. For two years, however, I think I have crossed a plateau, I have “I have a more assertive status in the field, I handle myself better in cleaver matches. In short, I am a more credible candidate, more serious. Before I was a curiosity, and my place in the Top 10 was a reward. Now, obviously, I want more. It’s a long process. I think now I’m one of the four or five names that come up on a regular basis.”
The players missing from the Ballon d’Or list
“Xavi and Iniesta, it’s as if they won it when Leo took them all. I remember their triple podium (in 2010) and I felt that the Ballon d’Or was a bit of all three, they were so inseparable in success.” from Barca. In fact, Arsenal’s Thierry Henry would have deserved it so much he was strong. He didn’t get very far in 2003 (2nd, behind Nedved). He was so different from the others…
Have you already talked about the Ballon d’Or with Messi?
“Yes, the morning of the last ceremony. He was super nervous when he went to pick up his seventh trophy a few hours later. You would think he was used to it and that he was calm about a night like this. But not him. Maybe he was thinking about what What was he going to say, how was he going to lift his trophy? I told him: “But it’s not possible! I, after six victories, come with a cigar at night. “He shows that he has saved the soul of this child and that the proximity of such a discount still excites him. He is not jaded.”
A Ballon d’Or bonus negotiated in his contract with PSG?
“Sure, as for all the players the club thinks they have a chance of getting one. We’ll add a carrot to you. But frankly, if I ever win the Ballon d’Or, my bonus, that would be the last thing.” I would think”.
Your top 3 for 2022
“(Long thought.) I would say Benzema, me and Mané.”
Karim Benzema laureate for 2022?
“Obviously. He’s 34 years old, he’s just had the season of his life, he wins a new Champions League being many times decisive… Instead of Karim, if I don’t win there, I stop thinking about the Ball forever”. d’Or. (Series.)”
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