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The Argentina international has downplayed the significance of the prestigious individual award, but still hopes his compatriot will emerge victorious

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has stressed that Lionel Messi does not need the Fifa Ballon d'Or in order to be happy.

The prolific attacker, 26, has walked away with the trophy for the past four years, but faces stiff competition from Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery and Zlatan Ibrahimovic this time around.

However, Mascherano has insisted that it will not be a problem for Messi if he loses out on the prestigious individual award, before adding that he hopes his compatriot will still win it.

"Messi doesn't need the Ballon d'Or to be happy. He has plenty of other things in his life. Life is not all about football," the former Liverpool man said at a press conference.

"I'm not tired of the Ballon d'Or debate. I don't pay too much attention to it. I'll be glad if Leo wins, because he's my friend and I know him.

"The award is for the whole year, though, and not just the last month-and-a-half. Messi is the best player I’ve seen in my life and certainly the best I’ll ever see. He’s got a gift."

Messi is currently sidelined with a hamstring problem that is set to keep him out until early next year.

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