Manchester City forward David Silva has backed Barcelona's Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d'Or ahead of his main challenger Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Spain international believes that the Argentina captain deserves the accolade for his performances in La Liga, though he would like one of his international compatriots to win the award after the team were victorious in their last three major tournaments.
"I prefer those two [Messi and Ronaldo], they are such great players and they are at the highest level, but I think Messi is the best," he admitted to AS.
"He shows every weekend that he is above the rest.
"I hope that a Spaniard can win it. If they don't win it now, then, I don't think they ever will."
Silva will come face-to-face with Ronaldo on Wednesday evening when Roberto Mancini's side host Real Madrid knowing only a win will keep them in with a chance of reaching the Champions League knockout stages.
And the former Valencia playmaker insists his team can learn from their 3-2 defeat in Santiago Bernabeu on matchday one.
"We have to go out and win. We have no other option. We know we're going to have to take risks, but that's how it has to be," he continued.
"The Bernabeu match was a blow because we were winning 2-1 and there was very little time remaining. Winning would have given us a different mentality."
During the match in the Spanish capital, the 26-year-old was given a standing ovation by the home supporters when he was substituted, but Silva does not believe that the fans were trying to send a message to club president Florentino Perez regarding a possible transfer.
He added: "I did not see it that way. I think they valued my performances for City, especially in winning the Premier League title."