Mario Balotelli believes Luis Suarez’s phenomenal goalscoring exploits with Barcelona should land the Uruguay striker the Ballon d’Or.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are likely to continue their domination of the award in the modern era after being named on Football France’s 30-man shortlist, with Ronaldo favourite to scoop the coveted accolade for a fourth time having helped Real Madrid and Portugal to respective Champions League and Euro 2016 glory.
Meanwhile, Suarez was Barca’s top scorer as they won Spain’s domestic double, with 59 goals in 53 appearances across all competitions last season.
He has 10 in 15 this time around and Balotelli gives his fellow forward the edge over football’s established elite stars.
“Cristiano, Messi or Suarez [will win],” he told Telefoot. “But to be honest, I would give it to Suarez.”
Balotelli has impressed with his goalscoring record this term, netting seven times in eight appearances in all competitions as Nice have established themselves as surprise leaders in Ligue 1.
The 26-year-old remains realistic over their title prospects in a league where standards have been tougher than he expected.
“It [the title] is possible, but it will be difficult,” he said. “We have played only 11 games but I came here to win
“Ligue 1 is difficult. When I arrived in Nice, I thought it would be easier.
“The Ligue 1 level will be closer to becoming more like the English, Italian or German championships.”
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