Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann? Deschamps sees World Cup stars in Ballon d'Or contention

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After helping France to glory in Russia, superstar performers from Manchester United, PSG & Atletico Madrid are expected to challenge for top awards

Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane should all be in the running for the Ballon d'Or, says France's World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps.

Deschamps followed up his 1998 success as a player by leading Les Bleus to glory at Russia 2018, his side beating Croatia 4-2 in a thrilling final in Moscow.

Mbappe claimed the tournament's best young player award following that success, the Paris Saint-Germain teenager having scored four World Cup goals, including a peach in the final.

Atletico Madrid's Europa League final hero Griezmann matched that tally while Pogba and Varane - a Champions League winner with Real Madrid - produced commanding performances throughout the knockout rounds.

Deschamps insisted a France star should be in contention for the Ballon d'Or, breaking a 10-year run of dominance from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but would not name his favourite for the prize.

"He's a potential candidate for the Ballon d'Or, yes, he deserves it," Deschamps told L'Equipe of Griezmann. "It's not just him, but he deserves it. The Ballon d'Or, that would be a very good thing.

"We've seen so many times, there are two who are still there... Come on, even three, you have Messi, Ronaldo with everything they represent in the world and what they do. Neymar too, even if he arrives behind.

"Does Raphael Varane deserve it? Of course he deserves it. Will it be him? A defender, yes, but in general it's an attacker. I especially hope that it will be a French player due to the fact that it's a World Cup year and they are world champions.

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"Kylian, he's only 19 years old, we'll say he has time [to win the Ballon d'Or]. But there is also what he does. Being so important and effective at age 19, it is out of the ordinary.

"Paul, with the World Cup he's had... Do not ask me who I prefer."

Griezmann was third in the 2016 Ballon d'Or, with Kaka's success in 2007 the last time Messi or Ronaldo did not claim the prize.

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