Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti backs Vinicius Junior to fight for Ballon d'Or

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Carlo Ancelotti said Vinicius Junior has "all the quality" to compete for the Ballon d'Or after his spectacular start to the season, but rejected the idea that teammate Karim Benzema will be affected by his fourth-placed finish in the 2021 edition.

Lionel Messi was named the world's best male player by France Football magazine on Monday, winning the prize for a record seventh time. Robert Lewandowski finished second with Jorginho third, Benzema fourth and N'Golo Kante fifth.

"Of course Vinicius has all the quality to fight to win it one day," Ancelotti said at a news conference on Tuesday.

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"We've got Benzema, and [Luka] Modric. The Real Madrid squad has a lot of options. We have [Thibaut] Courtois too. It's difficult for a goalkeeper to win the Ballon d'Or but he's at a top level."

Vinicius, 21, has had a flying start to 2021-22 -- with 11 goals in 19 games including a spectacular late winner against Sevilla on Sunday -- and is already being talked about as a possible contender for next year's award.

Ancelotti said he wasn't concerned about how the Brazil winger would cope with that success, saying "he doesn't feel like a star, he's still humble, that's one of his best qualities.

"It's important for the players, but it's an individual prize," he said. "I haven't seen Benzema or Courtois crying today because they haven't won it. They're fine."

Messi's win at the ceremony in Paris has received some criticism, including from Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos who said: "Benzema should have been number one." However, Ancelotti was reluctant to join in.

"Messi is still a great player," he said. "Let's hope next year the winner is from Real Madrid... If I had to choose, I'd pick Karim, with Vinicius second, Courtois third, Casemiro fourth, Kroos fifth... but I have to be respectful, Messi is still one of the best, maybe the best. It's a personal opinion."

Real Madrid are top of the LaLiga table and will increase their lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid to seven points if they beat Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Ancelotti said he is happy with the composition and balance of his squad and doesn't expect to be active in the January transfer window.

"I don't like the adjustments you make in January so much. It can mean something went wrong in the summer," he said.

"I don't think we have to improve. If there are players who aren't happy, you could think about [them leaving], but new signings: no."