Xavi thinks the Ballon d’Or should have gone to Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo, suggesting that the Real Madrid man’s trophy haul clouded the judgement of voters.
Ronaldo was the overwhelming winner of the prestigious prize, which is voted for by 173 international journalists.
It followed a year in which he lifted the Champions League and then helped guide Portugal to victory at Euro 2016.
Despite his remarkable year, Xavi believes his former Barcelona team-mate Messi was a more deserving recipient.
‘They counted the major trophies but there are other years in which they didn’t use that to award the best player in the world,’ he told TV3 . ‘Leo Messi is the best despite the trophies that someone else might have won.’
Ballon d’Or winners
It’s not the first time Xavi has waded into the whole Messi v Ronaldo debate. The World Cup winner once said that Messi is the best player in the world ‘for anyone who likes football’. It led Ronaldo to retort: ‘Everyone knows that anyone who wants to make the front pages has to talk about me. Xavi has not won a single Ballon d’Or. I have won three.’
Well, now Ronaldo has won four. It’s still one less than Messi though.