Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has claimed that he would "laugh a lot" if teammate Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d'Or for a fifth straight year.
The 26-year-old has endured a bumpy 2013, with injuries limiting his playing time as Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery, his main rivals for the award, have flourished.
However, the former Manchester United center back believes that his colleague is still among the favorites to win the prize due to his global popularity.
"Leo can never be ruled out. This is an election in which people vote. He has won four and won the appreciation of the whole world," he told Mundo Deportivo. "If he wins, I will laugh, a lot. I'm a big fan of Leo, I've always said that. If we evaluate his year, he's been spectacular again.
"I'm not saying that Cristiano has not done well or taking anything away from Ribery."
Pique also gave his thoughts on Messi's recent spate of injuries, suggesting that the Argentine has lost a bit of confidence due to his fitness problems.
"Maybe he has lost confidence. I have never had muscular problems like Leo - touch wood. He's disappointed, that's normal. It's a serious injury."
Messi picked up a hamstring problem in Barca's clash with Betis on Sunday and has been ruled out of action for around six weeks.
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