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The striker's incredible season continued when he hit a hat-trick for Paris Saint-Germain and his coach believes he is every bit as deserving of the award as other nominees

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc thinks Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goalscoring exploits should place him as an automatic candidate for the Ballon d'Or.

The striker has been in prolific form this calendar year, yet the favourites for the accolade are four-time Ballons d'Or winner Lionel Messi, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Uefa's Best Player in Europe award winner for 2013, Franck Ribery.

And PSG boss Blanc is mystified as to why Ibrahimovic has not been considered as a front runner for the award, given his incredible form for club and country.

"Does Ibra deserve it? It is not a question of merit or not. You know how these awards are distributed," Blanc told reporters. "You should see who it's based on: Ronaldo, Messi or Ribery.

"It seems to me to be consistent too. If Ibra can be added to this list, I'd be happy because he scores extraordinary goals. We'll see.

"One thing is certain, regardless of the winner it will be a beautiful Ballon d'Or this year."

Les Parisiens cemented their place at the top of the Ligue 1 table with an easy victory against Nice on Saturday, with Ibrahimovic notching a superb hat-trick.

But though he praised the form of the 32-year-old and strike partner Edinson Cavani, Blanc does not believe that recent results represent a turning point in the title race.

The Parc des Princes outfit now boast a commanding advantage over title rivals Monaco, who are third behind Lille after being held to a 1-1 draw at home with Evian on Friday.

"Players who score goals make their mark throughout their career," the former France boss added. "We are lucky to have two players like that.

"This is not a turning point. Monaco dropped points but Lille are there also."

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