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Mbappe could win Ballon d’Or, says Matuidi


Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe is so good he could one day emulate the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d’Or, his France international team-mate Blaise Matuidi said on Tuesday.

While Mbappe and Matuidi have never been club team-mates, the former joining Paris Saint-Germain from Monaco in August only after the latter had left for Juventus, they have lined up on the same team sheet for the national side.

And getting another chance to study Mbappe up close and personal in training at France’s Clairefontaine base ahead of their final two World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Belarus, Matuidi has been impressed.

“Hopefully he’ll keep going the way he has, we’re lucky to have such players in our team, we must make use of them,” said Matuidi.

“He (Mbappe) is someone who can win you a match with his ingenuity.

“He keeps his feet on the ground, that’s what’s so great despite all the talent he could have.

“He’s always keen to work hard, to do more. He’s sure to have a very, very big future.

“I believe he’ll be amongst those who could one day win the Ballon d’Or.”

Matuidi, 30 and capped 58 times, said he hasn’t come across a more precocious talent during his time in the professional game.

“To be honest, no,” he said of the 18-year-old starlet. “At that age, what he’s doing is pretty exceptional.

“He’s a great player — he’s young but he seems like a 30-year-old.”

France lead European qualifying group A by one point going into their final two matches, knowing that a maximum return will guarantee them a place at Russia 2018.

However, any slip up away to Bulgaria on Saturday would likely see them lose top spot to Sweden, who play minnows Luxembourg.

Only the group winners qualify directly for the World Cup, while the runners-up will face a play-off.

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