Ballon d'Or: Kylian Mbappe picks his top three for the 2022 award

The race for the 2022 Ballon d’Or is on.

Friday evening saw the 30 official nominees for the award announced by France Football, with Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe deservedly one of them.

The Frenchman was absolutely sensational throughout the 2021/22 season. In his 46 appearances across all competitions, he bagged 39 goals and notched 26 assists.

That return is quite simply phenomenal and it’s why Mbappe is tipped by some to make the podium at the Ballon d’Or trophy ceremony in October.

However, it’s very unlikely the 23-year-old will triumph overall in the voting, as the award has Karim Benzema’s name written all over it.

Real Madrid‘s talisman played football from another planet last season and was the main reason why the club claimed a La Liga and Champions League double.

If Benzema doesn’t win the Ballon d’Or for the very first time, it’ll be nothing short of a travesty.

Even Mbappe, his partner-in-crime on international duty, is well aware of that fact…

Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema celebrate a goal for France
Soccer Football – Nations League – Final – Spain v France – San Siro, Milan, Italy – October 10, 2021 France’s Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their second goal with Karim Benzema Pool via REUTERS/Miguel Medina

Mbappe on Benzema’s Ballon d’Or chances

“I would say that this year is a success for Benzema,” Mbappe said in a recent interview with France Football

“He’s 34 years old, has just had the season of his life, has won another Champions League and is often decisive… If I were Karim, if I don’t win this, I’ll stop thinking about the Ballon d’Or forever.”

Fair play, Kylian.

Mbappe was also asked to name his top three for the 2022 Ballon d’Or.

Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe on the subs bench
Soccer Football – UEFA Nations League – Group A – Croatia v France – Stadion Poljud, Split, Croatia – June 6, 2022 France’s Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe on the substitutes bench before the match REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

Mbappe’s top three for the 2022 Ballon d’Or

The PSG striker added: “My top three? I would say Benzema, myself, and [Sadio] Mane.”

Mane over the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne? Interesting.

The Bayern Munich forward was magnificent for Liverpool yet again in 2021/22 and was also the catalyst for Senegal’s maiden Africa Cup of Nations win at the start of the year.

Mane scored the winning penalty in the final shootout against Egypt and was named Player of the Tournament.

Sadio Mane after winning AFCON with Senegal
Soccer Football – Africa Cup of Nations – Final – Senegal v Egypt – Olembe Stadium, Yaounde, Cameroon – February 6, 2022 Senegal’s Sadio Mane celebrates with the player of the tournament award after the match REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Mbappe on winning the Ballon d’Or in the future

For years now, Mbappe has been tipped as a future Ballon d’Or winner and he’s determined to get his hands on the coveted golden ball as soon as possible.

”I want to win the Ballon d’Or very soon,” he said. “Like many. Except that there are perhaps not many who dare to admit it. I’m still convinced that the hardest thing is to win the first.”

“I think that my 18-21 year old period allowed me to stabilise in the Top 10. I wasn’t an impactful enough player. For the last two years, I think I have reached a new level, I have a more assertive status on the pitch, I am doing better in the decisive matches. In short, I am a more credible and serious candidate.”

If he can guide either France to World Cup glory or PSG to Champions League success in the next 12 months or so, Mbappe may very well win the Ballon d’Or in 2023.

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