Zidane backs Ribery for Ballon d'Or

The France legend lifted the award back in 1998 and has tipped his compatriot to follow in his footsteps on the back of his treble-winning exploits last term
Zinedine Zidane believes Franck Ribery deserves to win the Ballon d'Or but admits he could well miss out in favor of Lionel Messi.

The Bayern Munich winger scored 11 goals and added 19 assists in all competitions last season as the Bavarians lifted the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and the Champions League.

However, he will face stiff competition from the Barcelona and Argentina star - who has already lifted the individual prize four times in his career - but Zidane has offered his backing to his compatriot.

The Real Madrid assistant coach told RMC: "I would give it to Franck for what he did this year and especially the three major trophies he has won.

"The problem is there is a guy [Messi] who has 55 goals."

Zidane has been working alongside Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti in a coaching capacity since the summer and was asked for this thoughts on the misfiring Karim Benzema, who has come in for criticism for his lack of goals.

The 41-year-old said: "When a football player is down, it is always difficult. You lose some confidence, freshness. However, he will never lose his qualities. He never gives up."

Benzema has scored just two goals in La Liga this season, with Los Blancos already five points adrift of rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, who have perfect records so far this term.