Gerard Pique says Lionel Messi should have won the Ballon d’Or every year since 2009 because his Barcelona teammate is “on another level.”
Cristiano Ronaldo won the old Ballon d’Or award in 2008 during a year in which he had played alongside Pique at Manchester United, but Messi took the crown for the first time the following year.
The Argentina captain then won the combined FIFA Ballon d’Or award in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 but Ronaldo, who joined Real Madrid in 2009, was named the world’s top player in 2013 and 2014.
Portugal captain Ronaldo is considered favourite to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or — which has again separated from the FIFA award — after winning the Champions League and Euro 2016, but Pique wrote on Twitter: “If the Ballon d’Or was given to the best player in the world, Leo would have won it every year since 2009. On another level.”
Argentina captain Messi scored a goal and set up another in Barcelona’s 2-1 league win at Sevilla on Sunday, lifting Barca to second in La Liga, two points adrift of leaders Real Madrid after 11 rounds.
Sunday’s goal was Messi’s 500th in his career for Barcelona, 469 of which have been scored in official games.
Luis Suarez, who last month was awarded the European Golden Shoe for the second time in his career after scoring 40 league goals to help Barca retain La Liga crown last season, saluted Messi for his latest display.
The Uruguay forward tweeted: “Great win and great effort. Congrats my friend for the 500 goal with Barca, you are the best one.”
Messi, 29, has scored 14 times and set up four more in 11 appearances for Barca in La Liga and Champions League this season.
He and Suarez are at the top of the La Liga goal scoring charts with eight apiece.
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