The former Porto and Chelsea coach has backed his compatriot to claim the prestigious award but insists that the Argentine is the superior player
The Barcelona star suffered with injuries throughout 2013 as his Portuguese rival went from strength to strength for both the Seleccao and Real Madrid.
And Villas-Boas has backed his compatriot to claim the award he last won back in 2008 for his achievements at Manchester United.
"Cristiano has had a big impact recently and has played more games than Messi, so he can win the Ballon d'Or this year," he is quoted as saying by AS.
"But that should not influence the idea that Messi is perhaps the best player of his generation, his time or even all time.
"If we look at his development over the last year, Cristiano could win it, though."