Paul Pogba says this player ‘deserves’ to win Ballon d’Or over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Paul Pogba thinks N’Golo Kante would be a worthy winner of the Ballon d’Or after guiding Chelsea to the Champions League

Kante was the driving force behind Chelsea’s European glory and was named man of the match in both semi-final legs against Real Madrid as well as the 1-0 final win over Manchester City.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award – which honours the best player in world football – in recent times, winning 11 of the past 12 Ballon d’Ors.

However, with neither reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, Pogba – the Manchester United midfielder – feels that they do not have so strong a claim to be in contention.

And while the postponed Euros will no doubt come into consideration, Pogba thinks Kante has already done enough to get his hands on the individual prize.

‘What I would like to say to the whole world is that the “NG” we have seen in recent months has always been the same,’ Pogba told Eurosport France’s FC Stream Team podcast.

‘We talk a lot about his performances but he has always been as good as ever.

‘There was no Cristiano and Messi in the semi-final, so it’s good to see the performances of the midfielders or even the defenders.

‘I said a long time ago that it would be appropriate, if Chelsea won, for him to win the Ballon d’Or. It would be deserved, too.’

Kante and Pogba will team up as part of Didier Deschamps’ star-studded France side in the Euros, having won the World Cup in 2018.

Karim Benzema, the Real Madrid striker, has returned to the squad and they enter the event as pre-tournament favourites.

‘We have a PlayStation team but it will remain a PlayStation team if we don’t win a trophy,’ added Pogba.

‘We have to live up to expectations and there’ll be even more expected with Karim’s return. It’s nice to see a team sheet like that…

‘It’s always an honour but you always have to be present on the pitch.

‘Being world champions and having a team like that, we will be expected to do even more.’

Valeriy Fursov