'Messi deserves Ballon d'Or ahead of record-breaking Ronaldo'

Massimo Luongo was a shock inclusion on the list of potential winners, along with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Manuel Neuer, but he believes the Barcelona ace will win

GOALEXCLUSIVE   By Harry Sherlock

Lionel Messi has been backed to win the Ballon d'Or by a fellow nominee, despite Cristiano Ronaldo becoming Real Madrid's all-time record goalscorer.

A leaked list of 59 names seemingly in the running for the award appeared last week, with QPR's Massimo Luongo, Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina and Bournemouth winger Christian Atsu the shock inclusions alongside the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and Manuel Neuer.

Luongo has become a key player for Australia in recent months, on the back of a dazzling performance in the Asian Cup, and is the only player on the list to play in the second division of his country.

He does, however, not fancy his chances of winning the award, with Ronaldo scoring his 324th goal for Real to surpass Raul as the club's greatest goalscorer in Saturday's 3-0 win over Levante, while Messi continues to set his own records for Barca.

"Obviously I think it's between Ronaldo and Messi," Luongo told Goal in an exclusive interview, before opting for the Argentine ahead of the history-making Portuguese.

"I don’t know how they pick it. If they pick it on stats and based on figures and everything then Ronaldo will win it but I think Messi deserves it.

"I think he's just beyond everyone else."

FULL STORY | Ronaldo becomes Madrid's all-time top scorer

Asked about his own nomination, Luongo added: "There are some massive names on there so I can't really see myself getting any further but I'm really honoured to be on the list in the first place, not many people get to do it so I'll just take it and enjoy it. I'm really happy with what I've done at the moment."

And when pressed on which superstar he would rather play alongside, Luongo snubbed the Real Madrid star, adding: "It'd have to be Messi I think, he's just unbelievable."

Massimo Luongo wears the new Baltic/Serene Green New Balance Football Visaro boot, designed for players who ‘Make Chances’. To find out more about New Balance Football go to newbalance.com/football or follow @NBFootball on Twitter and Instagram