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Football Reporting

Champions League

Real Madrid are a ‘Ballon d’Or machine’

Kylian Mbappe has labelled Real Madrid a “Ballon d’Or machine” after six of their players were nominated in the 30-man list for the 2022 award on Friday.

Karim Benzema, Thibaut Courtois, Vinicius Junior, Luka Modric, Casemiro and Antonio Rudiger were all included in the list alongside the Paris Saint-Germain striker.

Speaking to France Football, Mbappe said he did consider Madrid’s successful past with the Ballon d’Or before turning them down to sign a three-year contract extension with PSG.

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“If I thought about the Ballon d’Or while deciding my future? Yes, of course,” he said. “Real Madrid is a machine for the Ballon d’Or, that should be recognised.

“There is real know-how. But the clubs don’t give you these awards.”

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Mbappe’s club teammate Lionel Messi was left off the list for the first time since 2005 while Neymar was also not included.

However, Benzema is the favourite to land the individual award after a stellar year and Mbappe joked his fellow France international should quit playing if he fails to win the prize this year.

“Benzema favourite for the Ballon d’Or? Obviously. He’s 34 years old, and just had the season of his life,” he added. “He also won the Champions League by being decisive.

“If I was Karim, if I didn’t win I’d stop thinking about this award forever [laughs].”

Mbappe also reiterated his desire to win the Ballon d’Or and said he is one of the three best players in the world.

“My top three? I’d say Benzema, myself and Sadio Mane,” Mbappe said. “It’s important to keep my feet on the ground, but I’m convinced that one day I can win the Ballon d’Or while at PSG.

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“I want to win the Ballon d’Or very soon. 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.”

Mbappe is looking to return to action on Saturday when PSG host Montpellier on Saturday after missing their opening day win through injury last week.

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