Real Madrid icon Zinedine Zidane wants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker Kylian Mbappe to win the Ballon d'Or as speculation grows over his compatriot's future.
Mbappe is being heavily linked with a move to Madrid after informing the Parisians that he won't be extending his contract beyond next summer. The Frenchman's current deal expires in 2024, but he has no interest in triggering the one-year option in his contract.
That has led to the 24-year-old being touted for a move to Real Madrid. Reports claim that Los Blancos president Florentino Perez has had an agreement with PSG over a €250 million deal.
Zidane, who was both a player and coach at the Santiago Bernabeu has lavished praise on his compatriot. The iconic Frenchman wants to see Mbappe go on to win the Ballon d'Or, telling Telefoot (via Madrid Xtra):
"I hope Kylian Mbappe wins many Ballon d'Ors. I follow him, and I admire him."
Kylian Mbappe is among the frontrunners for the 2023 Ballon d'Or award, following a stellar year for club and country. He bagged 41 goals and ten assists for PSG as they went on to win the Ligue 1 title.
The newly appointed France captain was also a standout performer at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He finished with the Golden Boot after scoring eight goals and providing two assists in eight World Cup games, including a hat-trick in the final loss to Argentina.
Kylian Mbappe holds Zidane in high regard. He defended the former Real Madrid manager when he was criticised by former French football president Noel Le Grant last year.
Le Graet said that he wouldn't take a call from Zidane regarding potentially becoming Les Blues boss. Mbappe reacted to that with a tweet:
"Zidane is France. We don't disrespect the legend like that."
Zidane won the Ballon d'Or in 1998 and wants Kylian Mbappe to follow in his footsteps. A move to Los Blancos could give him the perfect opportunity to do so.
France legend backs PSG's Kylian Mbappe for Ballon d'Or
Kylian Mbappe has been backed to rival his former PSG teammate Lionel Messi for the 2023 Ballon d'Or award. France legend Alain Giresse has tipped the attacking duo as frontrunners for the accolade:
"It’s difficult. I don’t see any others. A favourite? Messi-Mbappe, it will be played between the two."
Messi, 35, like Mbappe, was in scintillating form in the last year, finally winning the FIFA World Cup with Argentina at the end of last year.
The Argentine great scored seven goals and provided three assists in seven World Cup games, winning the Golden Ball for his displays in the Middle East. The legendary forward also bagged 21 goals and 20 assists in 41 games across competitions for Ligue 1 champions PSG.
Giresse also namedropped Manchester City duo Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne as candidates. However, he snubbed Real Madrid attacker Vinicius Junior who has enjoyed a phenomenal year.
The Brazilian scored 23 goals and provided 21 assists in 51 games across competitions for Madrid last season. However, Los Blancos failed to win the La Liga title and crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in the semifinals.