Football News

Ander Herrera: I can’t believe Neymar hasn’t won the Ballon d’Or yet

By Ben Green

Published: 15:05, 26 June 2022 | Updated: 12:37, 30 June 2022

PSG midfielder Ander Herrera has expressed his surprise that teammate Neymar hasn’t yet clinched football’s ultimate individual prize at this stage of his career.

The Brazilian superstar remains football’s most expensive player following his world record transfer to PSG from Barcelona for £190m in 2017, but five years on and the now 30-year-old is yet to seal a first career Ballon d’Or when he looked destined to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

In fact, the closest Neymar has come to claiming football’s most-coveted solo prize was in 2015, then at Barca, and during his maiden year in Paris, 2017, but since then he hasn’t been able to replicate those halcyon days, owing largely to persistent injury problems in the French capital.

Unable to dislodge Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Luka Modric since moving to Europe in 2013 from Santos, Neymar is running out of time to etch his name in Ballon d’Or history, but current Parisian teammate Herrera believes it is not yet too late for the Brazilian to seal the annual gong.

“I am very friendly with him,” Herrera told AS when asked about his relationship with Neymar, who has been heavily linked with a move away from the Parc des Princes this summer — with Chelsea reportedly keeping tabs on the Brazilian.

“He is a great team-mate and as a footballer he is in the world’s top five.

“I thought that he would already have a Ballon d’Or, but I don’t rule it out yet. It is a joy to be with him.”

Herrera was also quizzed on Kylian Mbappe’s decision to reject Real Madrid and extend his contract with PSG, and he believes the French superstar can go on to become the greatest player in Parisian history by remaining at the Parc des Princes.

“At Real Madrid, he would have become one of the best players in their history, with all the security that comes with playing there,” he added.

“But, with PSG, he can become the best player in the club’s history, and make history in his home city. It’s similar to Ansu Fati at Barcelona. Barcelona is his life and it’s the same for Kylian.”