Antoine Griezmann plays down Ballon d’Or chances despite World Cup and Europa League wins

World Cup Final: Antoine Griezmann (38′) France 2-1 Croatia
The Kwese studio crew assess whether or not France were the most deserving team to lift the World Cup trophy in Russia.
ESPN’s Alison Bender reports from outside Luzhniki Stadium with her key takeaways after France overpowered Croatia to win the World Cup.

Antoine Griezmann downplayed his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or after scoring four goals for France in the World Cup and finishing second in the race for the Golden Boot.

Griezmann scored a penalty in the 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday and was named Man of the Match for the third time in the tournament. And, as he scored twice in Atletico Madrid’s victory over Marseille in the Europa League final in May, he has a chance to improve upon his third-place finish in the Ballon d’Or voting from 2016.

“The Ballon d’Or … well, people are voting for it, so we will see what is going to happen,” Griezmann told reporters after the game. “I still have a European Super Cup to play. I hope we are going to win it.

“At the moment, I really want to enjoy and have a good time with our families and the whole of the French people in France. I want to have a good holiday. And I want to be ready for the European Super Cup. As I said the Ballon d’Or [voting] is not in my hands.”

Griezmann was close to joining Barcelona earlier this summer but eventually turned down a €100 million move to the Camp Nou in a documentary released to chronicle the decision. Thus, he dedicated his World Cup win to Atletico’s fans.

“I’m very happy, very proud of the team, my teammates,” Griezmann said. “I am thankful to everybody [and] also Atletico, who are making a big effort to keep winning. I wanted to take the decision [to turn down Barcelona] before the World Cup. I am very proud of the decision I made. This trophy is for all the colchoneros. We have an exciting year ahead of us.”

France's Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann was the runner-up to Harry Kane for the Golden Boot at the World Cup.

Meanwhile, France teammate Raphael Varane told reporters that he believes Kylian Mbappe will have successful career after the 19-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward was named the Best Young Player at the World Cup.

“He has incredible talent and incredible maturity for his age,” Varane said. “If he is in my team I am very happy, but we do not talk about that, just the national team. He is very intelligent, has it all, and an incredible future. He will go very far.”

The victory against Croatia means that Varane has become one of only four players since 1974 to win the World Cup and Champions League in the same season, all with Real Madrid: Christian Karembeu in 1998, Roberto Carlos in 2002, Sami Khedira in 2014 and Varane.

“[Ousmane] Dembele told me I’ve completed the game,” Varane said. “It’s been a great season for me. I don’t realise what I am living through. It is something enormous and fantastic. My career began spectacularly, and now at 25, I’ve won the World Cup. … I have no words for what I feel. I hope this continues.”

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