Lionel Messi will not be adverse affected by being overlooked for the shortlist for FIFA’s The Best award, Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez has said.
The Argentine has been virtually an ever-present when it has come to the final few of major individual awards over the last decade, scooping five Ballons d’Or in the process.
However, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah make up the player chosen for the podium of FIFA’s premier individual gong.
While this has been a controversial selection – Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann has questioned why there is no one from France’s World Cup-winning side in the final three – Suarez does not think it will have any impact on his colleague.
“I don't think that any award he does or doesn't win takes anything away from what he has won and what he keeps on achieving,” Suarez told ESPN.
“It's just like when I was scoring goals and deserved [to win] things, I was above all that. You prove yourself by working hard, with what you do in every game.
“The prizes that are worth more are the ones you win on the pitch. An example of that is being top scorer: no one can take that away from you because you won it with the goals you scored, proving yourself on the pitch, not because of a vote by players and journalists.”
Suarez went further, explaining what it is like to play with such a talented figure.
“There are times when you don't even need to look at him because you know he is going to put the ball where you want it,” he said. “There are times when you see a space that you can take advantage of and you don't even have to tell him because he's already seen it. You don't need to tell him anything because he sees everything.
“That's why, for many people, and for me, he is the best player in history - because of what he signifies as a player and for what he's done in the game.”
Messi has won a raft of trophies at Barcelona since debuting for the club in 2004, including four Champions League titles and nine Primera Division crowns. He has scored 556 goals in 641 outings for Barca.