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'The Ballon d'Or of this season is Messi' - Rivaldo backs Barca ace for top honours

07:05 GMT+3 11/07/2019
Lionel Messi Barcelona 2018-19
The Barcelona and Brazil great feels the Spanish side's current star should claim his record sixth Ballon d'Or in 2019

Lionel Messi deserves to win the Ballon d'Or this year, according to Barcelona and Brazil great Rivaldo. 

Messi enjoyed another stellar season for Barca, scoring 51 goals in all competitions as the Spanish giants claimed the La Liga title. 

Despite the league win, Messi found little other success on the year.  

Barcelona came short in the Champions League, falling in dramatic fashion to Liverpool in the semi-finals, and lost the Copa del Rey final. 

Messi’s year also hit a snag with Argentina. The 32-year-old could not inspire his team beyond the semi-finals, and was sent off in the match that saw them claim third place in Brazil, prompting him to hit out at referees and CONMEBOL .  

His words also brought about plenty of negative reaction as well, with opposing players , CONEMBOL and even the referees to hit back at his perceived lack of respect.  

Despite that, Rivaldo believes Messi should be awarded an outright record sixth Ballon d'Or. 

"In my opinion, the Ballon d’Or of this season is Messi for what he has done," the 1999 winner said, courtesy of Betfair. 

"He didn't win the Champions League, but because it is an individual prize he scored a lot of goals, important goals." 

Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have each won five Ballons d'Or, claiming the prize in every year since 2008 before Luka Modric ended their run in 2018.  

Both should be in the running again this year despite a perceived down year from the Portuguese star in his first season with Juventus.  

Ronaldo netted just 21 times in Serie A for Juventus as the club strolled to the title, but couldn't carry his club past the quarter-finals in the Champions League.  

Yet he did find success on the international level, helping Portugal to the inaugural UEFA Nations League crown.  

And Rivaldo thinks there is much more to come from both players next season.  

"They are such great players. I like them both," he said.  

"Messi always makes the difference at Barcelona and Ronaldo at every club and the national team – Juventus and Portugal.  

"It's going to be thrilling again. When you talk about them it's for something good, they both score so many goals."