France star Antoine Griezmann insists he deserves to be on the podium for this year’s Ballon d’Or after winning the World Cup and major silverware with Atletico Madrid, AFP reports.
Griezmann came third in 2016 in the voting behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the most prestigious individual award in football, despite not winning anything.
That year was agonising for the forward as he lost the Euro 2016 final with France and the Champions League final with Atletico.
But this season fortune has smiled on Griezmann, who starred in France’s triumphant World Cup winning campaign in Russia after an impressive year at Atletico, who won the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup.
“Comparing 2016 and this year, for me I have to be in the top three,” the 27-year-old told French sports daily L’Equipe.
“In 2016, I lost two finals and was in the top three. This time I have won three finals.”
Asked if not winning it would be unfair, Griezmann replied, “Not unfair, but I would wonder what more I could do. I have won three trophies, stood out at decisive moments, but it is not me who votes.”
Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the Ballon d’Or over the last decade and the Portuguese superstar will be a contender again this year after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.
But Griezmann, who rejected a move to join Messi at Barcelona in the close season, admits ending their stranglehold over the award would be special.
“I think about it, especially the closer I get to it. The Ballon d’Or is a prestigious award, and it is the highest you can go as a player. There are trophies in your league, in the World Cup, the Euro, but it’s not the same,” he said.
However, there are signs that Griezmann’s glorious 2018 on the field might not be enough.
Though Griezmann may have won the FIFA World Cup with France, the UEFA Europa League Cup and the UEFA Super Cup with Atletico Madrid, but that doesnt automatically gives him the coveted award as the best footballer of the world. It would be recalled that in 2010, Wesley Sneidjer of Inter Milan Football Club then won the Italian Serie A League, UEFA Champions League, Italian Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and was runner-up with the Netherland team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, yet he failed to win the award.
Perhaps, this may be Griezmann, only time will tell.