Matteo Darmian backs Marcus Rashford to battle Kylian Mbappe for Ballon d’Or

Matteo Darmian backs Man United forward Marcus Rashford to battle Kylian Mbappe for Ballon d'Or

Former Manchester United right-back Matteo Darmian has backed his old teammate Marcus Rashford to fight Kylian Mbappe for the Ballon d’Or award in coming years.

The France international is touted to be the most exciting youngster in the world, thanks to his scintillating performances at both PSG and France.

The 21-year-old forward was one of the top performers in the 2018 World Cup and helped France win the competition after beating Croatia in the final.

The ex-Monaco striker was named as the Best Young Player at the tournament and he has continued to shine on the big stage, scoring or assisting 10 goals in seven appearances in this season’s Champions League.

But Darmian – who stayed at Old Trafford for four years training with Rashford before signing for Parma last summer – believes the England forward has what it takes to challenge Mbappe.

Darmian could still vividly remember the top performance Rashford made during his training with the first team and claimed the Man United No.10 can win the Ballon d’Or if he maintains his consistency.

Marcus Rashford and Kylian Mbappe clashed in last season's Champions League
Marcus Rashford and Kylian Mbappe clashed in last season’s Champions League

“I still remember Marcus Rashford’s first session with the senior squad like it was yesterday,” Darmian told The Guardian. “I immediately thought: ‘Wow, this is an incredible player.’

“He did so many impressive things for a player of his age and the way he improved in every detail really impressed me. If he continues to work the way he has done so far he can be a Ballon d’Or winner.

“I’m convinced of this. He impressed me the most of all the players at United and he’s very young and can still improve. For me he can reach the level of Kylian Mbappe and compete for the Ballon d’Or for years to come.”

Mbappe finished sixth in the 2019 Ballon d’Or voting while Marcus Rashford was nowhere among the first 30 nominees.

However, Rashford was having his best season of his career before he was hit with a back injury against Wolves in January.

The Man United academy graduate has scored 22 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions this season so far.

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