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Neymar and Mbappe are future Ballon d'Or winners - Buffon

12:22 BST 14/10/2019
Kylian Mbappe Neymar PSG Paris Saint-Germain 2018-19
The Italy great has tipped his ex-PSG team-mates to become the best in the world in the next few years, and claim the individual awards to prove it.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon believes two of his former team-mates at Paris Saint-Germain will be fighting it out to win the Ballon d’Or in years to come.

The legend of Italian football, who returned to Serie A this year after a season with PSG, thinks Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will be the new Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, in that they will both be in the mix for the individual gong.

Speaking in an interview with Eurosport, the 41-year-old shot-stopper rained praise on forward pair.

“During my season at PSG I had the chance to play with two future Ballon d’Or winners,” he said.

“I'm talking about Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. These are two extraordinary talents.

“They are part of the reason I went to PSG. Kylian has the world in his hands. If he says to himself: ‘I must win the Ballon d'Or five times in ten years,’ he will do it. Everything depends on him.”

Mbappe already has what many of the best footballers in the world, such as Ronaldo, Messi, and indeed, Neymar, all crave — a World Cup winners’ medal.

After scoring on the opening day of the Ligue 1 season, the 20-year-old has struggled with injury and failed to make the France squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey as a result.

He and Neymar have only taken to the field together once for PSG so far this season, with Mbappe coming off the bench to assist the Brazilian’s winning goal against Bordeaux.

Neymar missed Brazil’s Copa America win this summer through injury, but Buffon believes there is still plenty of time for the 27-year-old to make his mark on world football, though he thinks he should have won the Ballon d’Or already, such is his talent.

“He has the technique, talent, and class that I have probably never seen,” added Buffon. 

“I often spoke with him. I said: ‘It's incredible, you're 26 years old and you have not won the Ballon d’Or yet. You should have won it even though there is Messi and Ronaldo. You do not have to wait until they stop because you're as strong as they are. The next five years, you must win three! Three for you and two for Kylian. You have the ability to do it.’”

PSG return to action against Nice on Friday, where they will assess their squad following the international break, and look to have both Neymar and Mbappe fit ahead of a busy period domestically, and in Europe.