Eden Hazard Says Kylian Mbappe Deserves Ballon d'Or Ahead of Luka ModricNovember 16, 2018
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard believes Paris Saint-Germain starlet Kylian Mbappe deserves to beat Real Madrid's Luka Modric to the Ballon d'Or this year.
Modric was recently crowned as FIFA's Best Men's Player following an excellent 2018, helping Croatia to the FIFA World Cup final and Real Madrid to a third UEFA Champions League success in a row.
However, Hazard said he believes Mbappe has been more consistent over the course of the calendar year, meaning he should beat Modric and himself to the Ballon d'Or, for which the ceremony will take place on December 3 in Paris, per RTBF via Ouest-France (h/t Tom Coast of Sport Witness).
"Even if I have played very well this year, I'm not getting carried away. I don't deserve the Ballon d'Or. I think there are players who have been better than me. ...
"I would have said Luka Modric, but he's not playing all that well since August-September, so if you take the beginning of the season into account, I would say...Kylian Mbappe."
The award in December will be given out in association with France Football magazine. Mbappe, Hazard and Modric are all on the 30-man shortlist, which was confirmed in October. Here are the nominees in full:
After winning the FIFA award, Modric is again among the favourites for the Ballon d'Or, that despite Madrid's sluggish start to the La Liga season.
Dermot Corrgian of ESPN FC recently commented on how the midfielder appears to be feeling the effects of a challenging year:
While the start to 2018-19 may have been forgetful for Modric, memories of his performances in the Champions League final and throughout World Cup remain vivid.
In the Champions League final against Liverpool, he bossed the game as Madrid won 3-1, while in the World Cup he was the heartbeat of a Croatia team that made a shock run to the final, only to lose to France.
On the France team and the scoresheet that day was Mbappe, who established himself as a footballing superstar with his performances at the tournament. The 19-year-old was sensational for Les Bleus, netting four goals and outstripping numerous defences with his blistering speed.
While Modric's season has gotten off to a slow start following the World Cup, Mbappe appears to have kicked on again, netting 13 times already this season. Patrick Timmons put his accomplishments into context:
Patrick Timmons @PatrickTimmons1
Mbappé has won 2 league titles, 2 domestic cups & the World Cup. Individually, he’s scored 12 goals in the CL, 9 for France, including one in the World Cup final & has managed 77 G/A over the last 26 months at club level in all competitions. He doesn’t turn 20 until December.
Hazard also enjoyed a wonderful World Cup, as he was Belgium's key performer as they finished third. He's been excellent for the Blues so far in 2018-19 too, scoring seven times in the Premier League for Maurizio Sarri's side.
Per Goal, the 30-man shortlist was selected by an editorial team at France Football, while the winner will be picked from an assembled jury of football journalists from different countries.