Borussia Dortmund full-back Achraf Hakimi thinks his ‘spectacular’ team-mate Jadon Sancho can win the Ballon d’Or if he continues to develop as a player.
While Sancho is far from a secret weapon for the Bundesliga title-chasers anymore, the 19-year-old has been having another superb season and reminded fans back home of his potential with an excellent showing for England over the international break.
Sancho is one of a group of players tipped for Ballon d’Or glory in the post-Messi and Ronaldo era, and Hakimi sees no reason why he can’t deliver on his potential.
“In a few years, if he continues at this level, he will be a candidate,” he told Marca.
“For me, he is a spectacular player. We know he is a player who still has to learn and improve because he is very young… but he is very good.”
Last season was a breakout campaign for the 20-year-old Hakimi, who is in Germany on a two-year loan from Real Madrid.
While he is focused on Dortmund for the time being, Hakimi has reiterated that he would be happy to return to Madrid and fight for his place if Zinedine Zidane wants him.
Impressing in the Champions League against Barcelona on Tuesday would surely help his cause, but he played down suggestions the game against his parent club’s biggest rivals carried any extra significance for him.
“I don’t think it’s a special game, I just think it’s another game and like always I have to do my best, but not because the opponent is Barcelona,” he said. “I always try to give everything I can whether it’s against them, against (fellow Group F opponents) Inter or against Slavia Prague.
“I said that if Madrid wanted me again, I would be the first to say yes. The coach knows me very well, but now I am focused on Dortmund and my intention is to do my best here. Then we’ll see.
“I follow all of Madrid’s games, I always like to follow Spanish football. Every team has lows but Madrid, with the players they have, are ready to overcome any bad run and I think they are going to have a great season. I am convinced of it.”
Dortmund’s Champions League group has been labelled this year’s ‘group of death’, with three genuine European heavyweights setting up some mouth-watering clashes. Hakimi knows his side face a slog, but thinks they too should produce some fear for their opponents.
“We are against big teams, but we are also one of them and I think the other clubs should be afraid of us,” he said.
“We are playing well, and are in great form. I don’t know if it’s the group of death, but we know it’s a difficult group and we will have to fight to get out of it.”