Ivan Rakitic has done a U-turn by stating that Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi rightfully deserves the Ballon d’Or following a terrific performance in a 4-2 win at Tottenham in the Champions League
The Argentine superstar capped off a truly mesmerising display at Wembley with two goals to end Barcelona’s three-game winless run.
Although he was overlooked for the final three-man shortlist of FIFA’s Player of the Year award and is set to lose out in the Ballon d’Or race with Real Madrid’s Luka Modric the strong favourite to end both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s decade-long hold of the award.
But Rakitic, who recently expressed his wish to see Croatia teammate Modric claim the award, believes that Messi remains a notch above all others.
“With all respect to other players who have won it [Ballon d’Or], we know there is a player who is different to the others and that is Leo Messi,” said Rakitic, according to Goal.
“Sometimes there are circumstances like Luka Modric doing an outstanding season and maybe people want to change a bit.
“But, with all respect, Luka and the others know there is a player who is different to the others, and that is Leo Messi.”
Messi has now taken his goal tally in the Champions League group stages to 64 goals in 65 appearances.