Xavi insists Messi deserves Ballon d’Or

Madrid, Dec 5 (IANS) Spanish icon Xavi Hernandez says his former club Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi is “the clear favourite” to win the ‘World Footballer of the Year’ award, the Ballon d’Or in 2015, given the fact that “he’s the best at everything and he shows that in every match”.

In an interview on Friday with FIFA.com, Xavi said: “I think Leo is the clear favourite now, and he deserves it too for everything he’s achieved at Barcelona. There’s no comparison in my book.

“He has total command of every aspect of the game. He’s the best at everything and he shows that in every match. He deserves this Ballon d’Or,” 35-year-old Xavi acknowledged.

Xavi, who quit Barcelona last season and now plays for Qatari club Al Sadd, also believes that there are players, such as Neymar and Luis Suarez, who will join the Ballon d’Or competition in the future, which has been between Messi and Real Madrid’s Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo since 2008.

Xavi’s name appeared in the final shortlist of nominees for the 2010 Ballon d’Or, along with his then teammates, Andres Iniesta and Messi, who won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, reports Efe.

“It was historic for me, for Barcelona, and for the whole philosophy at Barcelona,” Xavi, who won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and two European Championships for Spain, said.

Xavi, who quit international football after the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, reached the shortlist of the award for three straight years in 2009, 2010 and 2011, while he was featured in the FIFA FIFPro World XI for six years.

He explained: “It was wonderful to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or for so many years and being at the gala is fantastic. It’s great to be there.”

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