Lionel Messi deserves the Ballon d'Or, says Neymar Jr
Neymar Jr has come out in support of his Barcelona teammate and Argentina captain Lionel Messi and has added his voice to the existing debate regarding the best footballer of this generation. According to Neymar, Messi deserves to win the Ballon d'Or ahead of the prolific Cristiano Ronaldo who has just won the Euro Championships this year with his national team.
If Lionel Messi does inch ahead of his Portuguese counterpart this year, it will take his tally of Ballon d'Or to a record six trophies for outstanding seasons in the game of football. While Neymar has very vocally expressed his admiration for his teammate, the Ballon d'Or basically rests on which player has had the better season as a whole. Cristiano Ronaldo has had a massive contribution to his La Liga Club Real Madrid winning the Champions League while Lionel Messi has had an equally strong record with Barcelona, his club that won the Spanish League at the end of last season.
While both their contributions for their respective countries have been subjected to much scrutiny by pundits around the world, the fact remains that Cristiano Ronaldo has now won a Championship with his country while the Argentine superstar has led his national team to four major tournament finals without winning a single one of them. The 29-year-old Argentine recently announced his retirement from international football following a defeat to Chile in the finals of the Copa America.
Speaking to Portuguese newspaper O Jogo, Neymar categorically remarked, “Messi should win the Ballon d'Or. He deserves it after winning titles for Barcelona and reaching the final of the Copa America with Argentina.”
Lionel Messi, currently under fire for tax evasion has a better goals-per-game ratio with Argentina than Cristiano Ronaldo has for Portugal having played fewer minutes in the Copa America than Ronaldo did in Euros. However, the fact still remains that Ronaldo has finally achieved similar greatness with his country as he has with his club while international greatness still eludes Messi.
Footballers starting from Antoine Griezmann to Paul Pogba have back Ronaldo for the prestigious Golden Ball while many others have expressed support for Lionel Messi. Praising the Barcelona talisman, Neymar also said, "Ronaldo played well but not as fantastic as Messi did for both Barcelona and Argentina.”
While comparisons like this have gone on since the two players achieved greatness, it is probably prudent to realise that both their roles in the beautiful game should not be undermined while indulging in such debates.