Luka Modric believes Antoine Griezmann is the French player who most deserves to win the Ballon d’Or, ahead of Kylian Mbappe and Raphael Varane.
Modric is considered by many to be the frontrunner for the award, which is handed out on December 3, and is tipped to finally break the duopoly of Juventus and Barcelona superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
However, many French stars have also been tipped as potential contenders, the country having won the World Cup in Russia over the summer, defeating Modric’s Croatia 4-2 in the final.
Griezmann enjoyed a fantastic 2017-18 season, winning the Europa League with Atletico Madrid and scoring four goals en route to Les Bleus’ triumph.
And Modric believes that he is the frontrunner from a pool that also includes the prodigiously talented Mbappe, who starred as France beat Argentina in one of the all-time great World Cup games and also scored 21 goals for PSG last season.
“I would put Antoine Griezmann in pole position in terms of the 3 Frenchmen, for all he has achieved this year,” he told France Football.
Despite his tip, Modric believes Mbappe can only get better as the youngster continues his development.
“Mbappe? He’s an extraordinary talent, a wonderful promise for the future but who has already displayed a great level. He’s really special,” he said.
Varane, of course, helped Real Madrid to Champions League glory, and was the lynchpin of Didier Deschamps’ successful backline in Russia.
Nevertheless, Griezmann has already talked up his own chances of winning the award, insisting that it would make him a legend at Atletico.
“To win the Ballon d’Or at Atletico Madrid would allow me to go down in the club’s history,” Griezmann told Marca.
“Being a historic player for this club would be a dream and make me proud. That’s what I want, what I’m looking for.
“I am a very ambitious man and I always want more.”
Modric, meanwhile, insists that he will not give into such proclamations, despite his heroics at both club and international level over the past 12 months.
“I do not like to talk that way and say, ‘Yes, I deserve the Golden Ball’,” he added.
“The important thing for me is to be in the field as I have been for months. This year 2018 has been without a doubt the best of my career. (…) You are not going to make me say: ‘It is I who must win it’.”