Xavi: ‘Lionel Messi has to win Ballon d’Or’

Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has claimed that Lionel Messi deserves to win the 2015 Ballon d’Or ahead of teammate Neymar and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo were named on the three-man shortlist last week and the former is seen as the favourite to lift the accolade for a fifth time.

Xavi has said that the Argentine “has to” be awarded the prize once again, but the 35-year-old, who now represents Al-Sadd, has also paid tribute to the rise of Neymar. “Lionel Messi has to win the Ballon d’Or.

They’re at the same level but he’s better than Neymar. Football has changed a lot. Diego Maradona did what Messi is doing 30 years ago, but for me Messi is the best,” Xavi told Marca.

Ronaldo, who scored 61 times in 54 appearances last season, has won the Ballon d’Or in each of the last two years. The winner will be announced in Zurch on January 11.

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