Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe believes he is still a long way off winning the Ballon d’Or but sees PSG teammate Neymar Jr lifting the honours very soon.
The 18-year-old earned a place on the 30-man shortlist for France Football’s prize following his exceptional season for Monaco in 2016-17, in which he helped them to win Ligue 1 and reach the Champions League semi-finals.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to win the award for the second year in a row, although Barcelona star Lionel Messi and PSG’s world-record signing Neymar are expected to challenge closely, having finished second and third respectively behind the Portugal captain in the standings for The Best FIFA Men’s Player award this month.
Mbappe believes he can establish his place as a modern great if he can achieve success on the international stage with France, but he does not expect the Ballon d’Or to bear his name for some time.
“I still have a lot of steps to go towards the Ballon d’Or. I’m still learning,” he told Telefoot.
“If I want to become a great player, I will have to impose myself on the France team and that’s what I intend to do.”
Mbappe, who signed for PSG on loan from Monaco in August ahead of a permanent move next year, has formed a fearsome attacking trident alongside Edinson Cavani and €222million man Neymar this season.
The Brazil forward reportedly decided to leave Barca for the French capital partly because of a desire to escape Messi’s shadow at Camp Nou and challenge for the game’s top individual honours.
Mbappe is determined to help Neymar achieve that feat but insists PSG’s team objectives must come first.
“Ney has this technical quality that lets you interchange with him,” he said.
“He took me under his wing and if I can help him win the Ballon d’Or, I’ll do it. But the important thing is the team.”