Published On: Wed, May 3rd, 2017

Leboeuf: Pepe deserved Euros' best player award, not Griezmann

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Frank Leboeuf has shown that his loyalty towards the defenders’ union trumps his patriotism, saying that Portugal‘s Pepe deserved Euro 2016’s Player of the Tournament award rather than fellow Frenchman Antoine Griezmann.

The Atletico Madrid man’s competition-best six goals and energetic displays earned him the recognition following France‘s 1-0 final defeat to Portugal, but Leboeuf states Pepe, or Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale, were more deserving.

“I don’t necessarily agree with the decision,” the former RC Strasbourg Alsace and Chelsea centre-back told RMC via ESPN FC. “UEFA has always worked like that. The Man of the Match is always the player who scored the goal.

“You have Pepe, you have Gareth Bale who carried Wales. There were players who really showed their qualities.”

Leboeuf is a winner of World Cup ’98 and the 2000 European Championship with Les Bleus, tournaments that saw best player gongs handed to Brazilian striker Ronaldo and French midfielder Zinedine Zidane, respectively.

“Pepe was good from the first to the last match – unlike Griezmann who didn’t play the second game,” Leboeuf continued.

“We asked questions about his positioning. In the final he had two chances and he didn’t finish them. We didn’t see him too much.

“I like Antoine Griezmann a lot but he’s not the best player of the European Championships.”

Sunday’s defeat marked the second final in quick succession that Griezmann’s lost out to Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo after May’s Champions League penalty-shootout defeat to Real Madrid. As a result, the 25-year-old confessed that his likelihood of winning the Ballon d’Or wasn’t too good.

Related: Griezmann concedes Ballon d’Or to Ronaldo

Griezmann could next take to the pitch in Atleti’s preseason friendly against Numancia on July 22.

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