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The central defender has voiced his opinion that the Argentine is in a league of his own, and deserves the prestigious individual trophy over Ronaldo and team-mate Xavi

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has stressed that team-mate Lionel Messi deserves to win the 2011 Fifa Ballon d'Or.

The Argentina international faces competition from Xavi and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, and Pique believes Messi is the top candidate to win the prestigious award.

It is clear, Messi, he has been playing at a high level for years. And Leo is the best in the world," Pique was quoted as saying by La Vanguardia.

"He is driving this team to be one of the best in history. Thanks to him we have won many of the titles that we have in our windows.

"It is a pleasure to have him with us, he plays like when he was 13 years old, except now he does it in a professional way and before the best players. We just have to hope that he maintains this level for as long as possible."

The winner of the 2011 Fifa Ballon d'Or will be announced on Monday at the Kongresshaus in Zurich.

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