Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte said N'Golo Kante would be his choice for the Ballon d'Or, though he believes the star midfielder is always destined to miss out.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo claimed a record-equalling fifth Ballon d'Or on Thursday to move level with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.

Kante finished eighth in the voting for France Football's prestigious individual award in Paris and while Conte heaped praise on the hard-working midfielder, the Italian doubts the 26-year-old's chances of upstaging Ronaldo and Messi.

"Honestly I don't know if N'Golo Kante can win the Ballon d'Or in his life because of the characteristics of this player," Conte said.

"[But] for me, he is the Ballon d'Or. For a coach, Kante has to win, for every coach."

After leading Leicester City to an unprecedented Premier League title in 2015-16, France international Kante hoisted the trophy aloft again with Chelsea the following season.

Kante has made 12 Premier League appearances this season, scoring once as third-placed Chelsea prepare to visit lowly West Ham Saturday.