'If Griezmann doesn’t win, the Ballon d'Or doesn’t make sense'

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GABRIEL BOUYS
The former Atletico Madrid midfielder says the France international is the outstanding favourite, and says it was a difficult decision to leave Spain

The Ballon d'Or will lose all meaning if Antoine Griezmann is not named the world footballer of the year, according to former Atletico Madrid teammate Gabi.

Griezmann has enjoyed another fine 12 months, winning the World Cup with France and the Europa League and Spanish Super Cup with Atletico.

The 27-year-old was named among the 30-man shortlist for the prestigious prize, which will be awarded on December 3 at a ceremony in Paris.

And according to Gabi, the forward is the natural choice to win the honour for the first time.

“If they don’t give (the Ballon d'Or) to him this year, I will not understand anything," he told Goal in an exclusive interview.

"For example Cannavaro won Ballon d'Or because he won the World Cup and no one has won so much as Griezmann did this year. 

"He won the World Cup, Supercup, Europa League, been the best in the final, he won a lot. 

"I think If Griezmann doesn’t win, the Ballon d'Or doesn’t make sense”. 

Gabi played alongside Griezmann for four seasons in the Spanish capital before opting to spend the tender years of his career with Qatar Stars League side Al Sadd.

Playing alongside ex-Barcelona midfielder Xavi, Gabi has followed in the footsteps of Raul in moving to play in the nation which will host the World Cup in 2022.

And the 34-year-old has revealed the move came to fruition after the club's hierarchy were impressed by his performance and goal in the 3-0 Europa League final win over Marseille last May.

“This came in a natural way, it was curious," he explained.

"The prince signed Raul and then Xavi. He signed Real Madrid and Barcelona captains and he went crazy when I scored during Lyon final.

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"He said to Xavi that he must sign Atleti’s captain.

"They called, they were crazy and they made me a huge offer. 

"It was a difficult decision but I decided to start an adventure”. 

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