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Valverde on Ballon d'Or: Let's just give it to Messi and the problem is solved!

10:02 PM EST 11/30/19
messi-cropped
The Barcelona coach believes that the decision for this year's individual prize should not be a difficult one

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde believes voting for the Ballon d'Or should be easy, saying Lionel Messi deserved to win the award.

Messi, 32, is tipped to win a record sixth Ballon d'Or in Paris on Monday after enjoying another stellar year.

Valverde, whose team visit Atletico Madrid in La Liga on Sunday, said voting should be no problem as Messi is the world's best player.

"I don't follow these awards galas because they are too long. My vote, well, I guess, is the same as yours," he told a news conference.

"I would vote for the best, obviously. Ever year you always vote depending on how the seasons have gone for the players.

"But if you have to give it to the best, let's just give it to Messi and the problem is solved."

Messi will go up against tough competition for the prize this year, with Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Messi's perennial rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus the other two finalists. 

But Messi is considered the favourite after leading Barcelona to the La Liga title in 2018-19, though the Blaugrana fell short in both the Champions League and the Copa del Rey

Messi dealt with an injury to start the 2019-20 campaign but is rounding into typical form as the season heads into the winter months. 

The Argentine has scored eight goals in as many matches in La Liga play while adding a further two finishes in the Champions League.

Ahead of their trip to the Wanda Metropolitano, Barcelona are second in La Liga, three points behind rivals Real Madrid.

In the Champions League, meanwhile, Barcelona have already clinched top spot in Group F ahead of Inter and Borussia Dortmund with one matchday left to play.

Valverde wasn't the only Barcelona official to shower Messi with praise this week, as club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said he has no doubt that Messi is the greatest player of all time.

"Without a doubt Leo Messi is the best player in football history, he has made a huge mark on the world of football," he told the club's website.

"There is no club in the world that has had as much success as Barca, with a player that has won six Golden Boots or has five Ballon d'Or awards."