Lionel Messi is coming off an astounding season in which he scored a La Liga record 50 goals and a world record 73 in all competitions. Though this might seem like more than enough to make him worthy of a fourth straight Ballon d'Or, Zlatan Ibrahimovic says not so fast.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward, who played with Messi at Barcelona during the 2009-10 season, told Eurosport: "Messi had a fantastic season but he has not won that much and he has already won the Ballon d'Or three times. It depends whether you reward an individual or a collective work.
"Xavi is still playing at a high level, [Andrés] Iniesta also had a great season, they won the Euros [for Spain] while Messi has not won anything, just the King's Cup. Messi has won the Ballon d'Or three times, it's now someone else's turn to win it."
Meanwhile, Zlatan led Serie A with 28 goals, his goal against France was voted the finest of Euro 2012 even though the rest of the Swedish team betrayed him by not playing up to his standard and getting themselves eliminated in the group stage, and he won/led Milan to the coveted Zlatan Cup -- the most prestigious trophy in all of club football, awarded annually to the best team with Zlatan on their roster. So the real front-runner for the Ballon d'Or should be clear.