Saturday 17 February 2018

Luis Suarez deserves Ballon d'Or, says Leo Messi

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi believes Luis Suarez should have joined him and Neymar on the three-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or 2015.

Suarez was the only member of Barcelona's famed 'MSN' to fail to make the final shortlist for the award, which recognises the best player on the planet in the previous 12 months.

The Uruguay striker has scored 40 goals in the calendar year so far and starred in the Champions League final win over Juventus in May.

The other nomination for the award, Cristiano Ronaldo, has a staggering 48 goals for club and country in the same period, but Real Madrid ultimately went trophyless and his form for the La Liga giants has been criticised in recent weeks.

Now Messi and Neymar have both suggested Suarez would have been a deserving entry for the Ballon d'Or, which is awarded in January.

Speaking at the La Liga awards, Messi said: "I'd have liked to be on the Ballon d'Or podium with Neymar and Luis. Luis deserved it, but Cristiano also did well. We'll have a good time."

Neymar added: "Being nominated for Ballon d'Or means a lot. Suarez should have been there too, but Messi is favourite, he's the number one for me."

Messi enjoyed another victory over his old rival Ronaldo after he was voted the top striker in the Spanish league last season.

It is the sixth time that the Argentinian has won the title in seven editions of the trophy given by the Spanish football league. Messi was selected following a computer analysis of the players' statistics in the championship.

"I'm proud to receive this award ahead of so many important players in La Liga," said Messi.

"This award in particular I want to dedicate to my son Thiago (aged 3) even if he still doesn't understand very well. Every time I leave the house he gets angry and asks me: 'Papa, are you going again to score goals?' This award is for him."

Messi also won the vote for the best striker following a poll of the captains of each of Spain's top flight sides.

Barcelona's Claudio Bravo was voted the best goalkeeper and Luis Enrique top coach while Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez were named best defender and midfielder respectively.

Valencia's Algerian midfielder Sofiane Feghouli was voted the top African player and Barcelona's Brazilian striker Neymar, the best player from the American continent.

Real Madrid's Portuguese star Ronaldo, who scored the most La Liga goals last season with 48, won the public's choice award.

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