Marcus Rashford has been backed to take on Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe for future Ballon d’Or awards by former teammate Matteo Darmian.
Mbappe, 21, is arguably the most exciting up-and-coming prospect in Europe thanks to his explosive performances for PSG and France – who he spearheaded to victory at the 2018 World Cup.
The former Monaco man picked up the award for the Best Young Player at the tournament and he has kept to shine on the big stage, scoring or assisting 10 goals in seven appearances in this season’s Champions League.
But Darmian – who spent four years training with Rashford before moving to Serie A club Parma last summer – considers the England international has what it takes to challenge Mbappe.
“I still remember Marcus Rashford’s first session with the senior squad like it was yesterday,” Darmian told The Guardian. “I immediately thought: ‘Wow, this is an incredible player.’
“He did so many impressive things for a player of his age and the way he improved in every detail really impressed me. If he continues to work the way he has done so far he can be a Ballon d’Or winner.
“I’m convinced of this. He impressed me the most of all the players at United and he’s very young and can still improve. For me he can reach the level of Kylian Mbappe and compete for the Ballon d’Or for years to come.”
Mbappe concluded sixth in the 2019 Ballon d’Or voting while Rashford was not among the 30 nominees.
However, the Red Devils academy product was enjoying an excellent 2019/20 campaign before suffering a serious back injury in January.
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The 22-year-old scored 19 goals and provided five assists in all competitions and is expected to be fit for when the season resumes as the coronavirus pandemic eases.