Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is on the opinion that holding midfielder N’Golo Kante will never win the Ballon D’or due to being undervalued by football journalists.
Cristiano Ronaldo won his fifth Ballon D’or to tie rival Lionel Messi on Thursday night with Kante finishing eighth, ahead of Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane. Only two of top seven of the chosen players were more defensively minded – Sergio Ramos (sixth) and Gianluigi Buffon (fourth).
According to Conte, players of Kante’s caliber can never win Ballon D’or due to their ‘dirty worker’ characteristics, but he reckons managers would choose him ‘best player’ any day of the year.
“Honestly, I don’t know if N’Golo Kante can win the Ballon D’or in his life because of the characteristics of this player.” The Italian boss said.
“[But] for me, he is the Ballon D’or. For a coach, Kante has to win, for every coach.”
Only three defenders have won the Ballon D’or in history: Fabio Canavaro did it in 2006, while Franz Beckenbauer and Matthias Sammer won it for Germany several decades earlier. The only goalkeeper who has managed to win the highest individual prize was Lev Yashin in 1963.
The only defensive midfielder who has won Ballon D’or to date is Lothar Matheus – in 1990.