'If Messi doesn't deserve the Ballon d'Or I know nothing about football' – Atletico's Filipe Luis

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In a candid interview, the Brazilian put his reputation on the line by backing a club and international rival

Atletico Madrid full-back Filipe Luis has weighed in on the 2018 Ballon d'Or debate, insisting that Lionel Messi should have scooped the award ahead of Luka Modric.

Winning the Champions League and reaching the final of the World Cup saw the Croatian gifted the coveted honour, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann taking second and third place respectively.

Kylian Mbappe, who did lift the Kope Trophy, made fourth place for his exploits with Paris Saint-Germain and winning the World Cup, meaning Messi had to settle for fifth.

Filipe Luis, however, despite playing for a direct rival of Barca in La Liga, believes that the Argentine's exploits in 2018 – and indeed for the majority of his career – should have landed him the top spot on the podium.

“When I get on the pitch my mission is to not let the opponents do anything, be that Messi or any other player,” the Brazilian said in an interview with Globoesporte.

“But after so many years I see a guy who continues to reinvent himself - he's played out wide and now he plays in the middle.

“Suddenly, I hear that he didn't deserve to win the Ballon d'Or because he had a bad season in 2018?

Filipe Luis on Messi

“He won La Liga, he won the Copa del Rey, he was the top scorer in Europe and provided loads of assists.

“Whoever thinks Messi doesn't deserve the Ballon d'Or isn't seeing what I'm seeing. Either that or I don't know anything about football.”

With Atleti sitting just five points behind the Blaugrana in the race for the Primera Division title the 33-year-old is aware that he won't win any admirers for his comments, but cares little as he feels he is only stating facts.

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“He's the best player at Barcelona,” he added. “He scores goals and when he doesn't do that he provides assists or starts the plays that lead to goals – and he's done that for the last 10 years.

“My rivalry with him on the pitch is infinite, but off the pitch my admiration for him is also infinite.

“He's Argentine and plays at a rival club, and I know I won't win any admirers by speaking well of him. But I'm just being sincere.”

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