The only man to score past the veteran in this year’s Champions League knockout phase thinks he should be in pole position for the prize
Kylian Mbappe believes that Gianluigi Buffon would be a worthy winner of the Ballon d’Or after a monumental season with Juventus, although he admits Cristiano Ronaldo is more likely to take the award.
Mbappe is so far the only man to put a goal past the Juventus goalkeeper in this year’s Champions League knockout phase, but it was not enough to avoid a 4-1 aggregate defeat for Monaco in the semi finals.
There are no hard feelings, though, as the teenager heaped praise on Buffon ahead of the competition’s showpiece between Juve and Real Madrid in Cardiff next week.
“For all of his work, [Buffon] deserves the Ballon d’Or, but I think it depends on the Champions League final,” he explained to Eurosport.
“If Real Madrid win, I think it will be Cristiano Ronaldo but otherwise, I think it would be good for Buffon to win the Golden Ball. “
Despite his admiration for Buffon, Mbappe’s loyalties will be split as he watches the action at the Millennium Stadium.
Leading Madrid will be Zinedine Zidane, the teenager’s compatriot and his all-time idol on the pitch.
“The one who made me love football was Zidane. Afterwards I developed several idols but really Zidane was my very first idol,” he said, while also commenting on the comparisons he has invited with fellow legend Thierry Henry.
“It’s flattering to be compared to Henry, but as I said and I repeat: ‘everybody writes his story.’
“Thierry has made his career and it was immense, I think it would not be fair to compare an 18-year-old who has not done anything yet.
“If I make a great career, I would not want to be compared to an 18-year-old who has not done anything yet.”
Mbappe smashed 26 goals in all competitions for Monaco in 2016-17, enjoying a superb second season that helped his team take the Ligue 1 title.