Brazilian legend Rivaldo believes that Lionel Messi is already the undisputed winner of the 2019 Ballon d’Or award.
The Argentine superstar has enjoyed another sensational campaign for Barcelona, with 45 goals and 21 assists to his name in just 42 matches.
Messi’s ever-impressive form has played a large part in the club’s pursuit of winning a treble this season in La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Despite now being 31 years old, the non-stop scoring forward is clearly showing no signs of slowing down and proved untouchable in Barcelona’s Champions League win against Manchester United mid-week.
Therefore, Barcelona icon Rivaldo reckons Messi has already proven he deserves to win football’s most prestigious individual prize in the Ballon d’Or for a record sixth time.
“It’s impossible to describe Messi,” the 1999 Ballon d’Or winner told Goal.
“I like him so much and I always say I feel so sad because he never won the World Cup with Argentina. It is an award he deserves because a world-class player like him must be a world champion.
“He has been scoring goals, giving assists and being the top scorer in La Liga for a long time and I think what he has been doing in the Champions League means his merits should be recognised.
“He had a chance to score a bicycle kick [versus Man Utd] but it’s not an easy one to take because you don’t get those chances often in games. It was a good effort but it didn’t quite come off.
“Even if he doesn’t win the Champions League, however, he already deserves the Ballon d’Or.”
Messi is expected to be back in action for Barcelona on Saturday at home to Real Sociedad in La Liga.
Ernesto Valverde’s side hold a nine-point led at the top of the standings from Atletico Madrid ahead of the final six matches of the season.
The Blaugrana will also take on Valencia in next month’s Copa del Rey final in Seville.