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Cesc Fabregas Makes U-Turn On Ballon d'Or Winner After Champions League Final

Rory O'Callaghan

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Cesc Fabregas Makes U-Turn On Ballon d'Or Winner After Champions League Final

Cesc Fabregas believes Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois deserves to win the Ballon d'Or after his man-of-the-match performance in the Champions League final.

Courtois produced a string of impressive saves to keep out Liverpool, as Madrid won 1-0 in Paris on Saturday.

Vinicius Jr's second-half goal was enough to secure the Spanish side a record-extending 14th European Cup.

Courtois made a series of impressive saves against Liverpool (Image: PA)
Courtois made a series of impressive saves against Liverpool (Image: PA)

But there was more than just the Champions League trophy at stake in the match, with the outcome of the game also likely to determine the winner of this year's Ballon d'Or.

Madrid striker Karim Benzema is the bookies' favourite to claim the award after scoring 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions this season.

Mohamed Salah is also in contention after winning the FA Cup and Carabao Cup with Liverpool, with the Egyptian also finishing as the joint-winner of the Premier League Golden Boot award.

His teammate Sadio Mane is also among the favourites for the Ballon d'Or after captaining Senegal to victory at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Tweeting ahead of Saturday's final, former Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea midfielder Fabregas said: "Not a big fan of individual trophies like that but surely the Ballon d'Or could/should be decided tonight? Mane? Salah? Benzema?"

He later revised his tweet after full-time to reflect Courtois' impressive performance.

"I would add and most probably give it to Courtois. Insane season," added Fabregas.

Belgium international Courtois made nine saves on Saturday night, the most in a Champions League final.

Karim Benzema is the favourite to win the award (Image: PA)
Karim Benzema is the favourite to win the award (Image: PA)

Speaking after the victory, the former Chelsea goalkeeper said he was happy to have proved his doubters wrong – particularly in England.

"I said to my friends yesterday that when Real Madrid play finals they win it. I am on the good side of history,” Courtois told BT Sport.

"Today I needed to win a final for my career, for all the hard work to put respect on my name because I don't think I have enough respect, especially in England."

He added: "I saw a lot of criticism even after a great season, that I was not good enough or whatever.

"I am just really happy and proud of the performance of the team. We stuck to it and when I needed to be there, I was there for the team."

Should Courtois win the Ballon d'Or this season, he would become only the second goalkeeper in history to win the award after legendary Soviet Union international Lev Yashin.

Who deserves to win the Ballon d'Or? Let us know your thoughts.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid, Cesc Fabregas, Football, Champions League, La Liga, Ballon d'Or

Rory O'Callaghan
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