France's Kylian Mbappé said he knew that Lionel Messi would win the Ballon d'Or after the Argentina forward led his country to glory at the 2022 World Cup.
Mbappe scored a hat trick for France in the epic final in Qatar but he could not prevent Argentina from lifting the title on penalties.
"I knew he would win it [Ballon d'Or] the night of the World Cup final," Mbappé said.
"Messi deserves it. If he wins the World Cup he has to win the Ballon d'Or. He is one of the best in history, if not the best."
Messi, who was named as the World Cup's Player of the Tournament after scoring seven goals, won a record eighth Ballon d'Or, ahead of Manchester City's Erling Haaland and former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Mbappé.
Some questioned whether Inter Miami star Messi deserved the award ahead of City's Haaland, who scored 51 goals to lead City to a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble. For Mbappé, who had 29 league goals in 34 league appearances to help PSG win the Ligue 1 title, there's no debate.
"It's true that Erling Haaland and I had a good season, but that next to a World Cup won by Messi, there is no comparison," Mbappé said.
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