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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 over Cristiano Ronaldo but admits he could well miss out to Lionel Messi.

The Bayern Munich winger scored 11 goals and made 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 Real Madrid stars - who have already lifted the individual prize in their careers - but Zidane has offered his backing to his compatriot.

"[Ribery and Ronaldo] both deserve to win it," the Real Madrid assistant coach told RMC. "But 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 added: "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.




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