'Messi didn't belong in the top three' - Felix Kroos dissents on Barca star's FIFA Best showing


Lionel Messi's on-field achievements for Barcelona and Argentina did not warrant his inclusion in the last three for The Best FIFA Men's Player award this year, according to Felix Kroos.

Messi, who this week broke Pele's record for the most goals across a single club career with his 644th goal, finished third at the 2020 ceremony earlier this month.

The 33-year-old took the bronze medal behind Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski and familiar rival Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, who finished first and second respectively. 

Yet, in a calendar year that saw Messi struggle to replicate his personal successes as well as emerge empty-handed in the hunt for silverware, his inclusion raised eyebrows in certain quarters.

Now, Kroos - younger brother of Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Toni - has opined that the Blaugrana veteran was undeserving of his spot ahead of other nominees like Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne.

"Lewandowski deserves it, absolutely," the 29-year-old, who plays for German second division outfit Eintracht Braunschweig, told his older brother's Einfach mal Luppen podcast. "But, for me, Messi doesn't belong in the top three, because I don't think he did well this year."

Both Kroos brothers also weighed in on the The Best FIFA Men's Coach award, which was won by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp over Bayern supremo Hansi Flick, despite the pair finishing on level points.

The Reds manager was handed the gong due to a higher proportion of votes from national team coaches, edging out the ex-Germany assistant while Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa finished an unexpected third.

While Klopp led Liverpool to a maiden Premier League triumph, Flick - drafted in months into the campaign to replace Niko Kovac - completed a continental treble, before adding the Super Cup to his haul at the start of the current season.

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"Obviously, both of them are great coaches, based on the successes they have both achieved," Toni added. "[But] Hansi Flick is one of the sports personalities of 2020.

"He didn't just turn his team into treble-winners, they battered most of the teams they played. They hardly ever scored less than four goals per game."