Antoine Griezmann has spoken of his pride at rubbing shoulders with “two monsters” in Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after finishing third in the 2016 Ballon d’Or rankings.
The forward enjoyed one of his best seasons last term, helping Atletico Madrid advance to the final of the Champions League and firing France to the decider of Euro 2016 on home soil, only to lose both showpiece games to Ronaldo’s Real Madrid and Portugal respectively.
That trend continued on Monday, as he found himself behind Ronaldo – and runner-up Messi of Barcelona – as France Football announced the outcome of the prestigious award.
Nevertheless, the Atletico star was delighted to be recognised by many of the 173 journalists from around the world who voted to determine the winner.
“It is a great pride, an immense joy and a bit unexpected too,” Griezmann told L’Equipe TV.
“I am happy to be in the top three and I thank those who voted for me. I’m on the right track, we have to keep working.
“Messi and Ronaldo are two monsters, two legends. To be behind them is a pride and a joy. It is necessary to continue to score, to work, to take pleasure and to give to the supporters.”
As for whether or not Griezmann could one day take home the most coveted individual accolade in world football, the 25-year-old added: “It will be hard to get past [Lionel] Messi or [Cristiano] Ronaldo in the future. We will try to go higher. I hope it continues like this and that the year 2017 will be as good as this one.”
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