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Saul backs Atletico team-mate Griezmann for Ballon d’Or – football news

Atletico Madrid and France star Antoine Griezmann would be a worthy winner of the Ballon d’Or, according to club team-mate Saul Niguez.

Griezmann was included on the 30-man shortlist for the coveted individual prize, having finished third for the award in 2016.

The 27-year-old enjoyed another fine campaign with Atletico – scoring 29 goals in 2017-18 as his team won the Europa League – while he netted four times to help France to the World Cup title.

Griezmann himself has called for the Ballon d’Or to be bestowed on one of France’s World Cup winners, despite Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s dominance of the award over the last decade .

Saul said Griezmann deserved to win the Ballon d’Or, with Real Madrid and Croatia star Luka Modric the favourite.

“I wish. He would be a fair winner for me,” the Atletico midfielder told RNE on Tuesday.

“Atletico Madrid are growing and are doing so partly thanks to Griezmann. He doesn’t have the numbers of Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi, but he makes us play and score goals – for his club and national team.”

Saul also defended Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who was booed by fans earlier this season.

Atletico sit third in the La Liga table, just a point behind leaders Sevilla and level on points with second-placed Barcelona after an up and down start to the season in Spain’s top flight.

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But the midfielder believes his manager deserves the benefit of the doubt after the amount of success the club have had under his watch. 

“With everything he has done and everything he is doing, the doubts are unthinkable,” Saul said.

The club return to action against Villarreal on October 20 and follow that match with a clash against Germany outfit Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. 

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