Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel has claimed he deserves his spot on the FIFA Best shortlist, amidst scepticism from sections of the footballing world since the nominees were announced.
The awards ceremony caused some controversy when Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola were left of the three-man list of finalists in their respective categories, with fans and pundits either unaware or choosing to ignore the selection criteria, which prioritised FIFA events.
Kasper Schmeichel is joined on the three-man goalkeeper shortlist by World Cup winner Hugo Lloris and the tournament's Golden Glove winner Thibaut Courtois.
Schmeichel himself also starred at the World Cup, helping Denmark to the last 16 before going down against eventual finalists Croatia, conceding just twice from open play and providing some penalty heroics to keep his side afloat.
The Dane has now responded to criticisms that the spot would have been better filled by a bigger name like David de Gea, Keylor Navas or Ederson Moraes by insisting he is one of the best in the game today.
He was quoted by the Mirror as saying: “It’s is a huge honour, it’s always nice to get recognition.
“I would back myself against any keeper in the world. I think my level over the years has shown I am improving all the time. I had a decent World Cup and have been solid for many years in the Premier League now. I will keep on improving.”
Schmeichel has already starred in Leicester’s unlikely league title triumph in 2016 and again in the Champions League the following season. The Foxes have enjoyed plenty of success since his move to the King Power, and Schmeichel has impressed at the highest level.
The Dane is now targeting more success at Leicester, adding: “When you’ve had the experience of winning something as a team and achieving something as a team, that’s always what trumps it.
“The club is ambitious and wants to go in the right direction. Everybody at the club wants to stay at the club. We’ve very ambitious owners who have invested huge amounts of money in a new training ground and stadium redevelopment. Everyone has seen that and wants to be a part of building that.”
Claude Puel’s side have collected six points from their opening four games as they look to build on a ninth placed finish last season.