South Korea manager Choi Kang Hee: Ballon d'Or belongs to Messi

The former Jeonbuk Motors tactician revealed his thoughts on the prestigious award before announcing his roster for South Korea's upcoming friendly against Australia
South Korea coach Choi Kang Hee is so confident in Lionel Messi's chance at winning another Ballon d'Or that he's considered abstaining from voting, according to an interview published on Monday.

The Argentine superstar could win the coveted award for the fourth time if he beats out a shortlist that includes rival Christiano Ronaldo, team-mates Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique, and fellow countryman Sergio Aguero.

"It's going to be Messi anyway, I might just give up voting," Choi laughed during the intervew with sports media website OSEN. "There's no chance for other players as Messi has played so well in the last few years.

"Voting for others would be like making a sympathy vote."

The former Jeonbuk Motors manager, who took over with the Taegeuk Warriors at the end of 2011, praised both Messi's skills as well as his humility off the pitch.

"[He] has no problem in his private life, not like other star players," Choi continued. "He's just perfect. I don't know how long he'll keep winning the Ballon d'Or.

"I'm really sorry for [Christiano] Ronaldo. If there were no Messi, Ronaldo would have won every year."

Also on Monday, the coach announced his 18-man roster for South Korea's upcoming friendly against Australia on November 14. The squad, which will not feature any Europe-based players, features the return of striker Lee Dong-Gook, who missed South Korea's last call-up due to poor form.

South Korea National Team call-ups for Australia friendly (November 14):
Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-Ryong (Suwon), Kim Young-Gwang (Ulsan)
Defenders: Choi Jae-Soo (Suwon), Hwang Seok-Ho (Hiroshima), Kim Ki-Hee (Al Sailiya), Jung In-Hwan (Incheon), Kim Young-Kwon (Gwangzhou Evergrande), Kim Chang-Soo (Busan), Shin Kwang-Hoon (Pohang)
Midfielders: Hwang Jin-Sung (Pohang), Lee Seung-Ki (Gwangju), Kim Hyung-Beom (Daejeon), Ha Dae-Sung & Ko Myung-Jin (Seoul), Park Jong-Woo (Busan), Lee Keun-Ho (Ulsan)
Forwards: Lee Dong-Gook (Jeonbuk), Kim Shin-Wook (Ulsan)