Lionel Messi is tipped to win a seventh Ballon d’Or this year and PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino insists the Argentine should win the individual award once again
Mauricio Pochettino believes Lionel Messi should win this year’s Ballon d’Or, insisting his vote is always made “with his heart” – not because he coaches his compatriot.
The Argentine is again favourite to win the individual award, which would be his seventh success.
Messi’s first Ballon d’Or came in 2009 and he has continued to dominate the award alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
His success in the Copa America this summer, his first ever international honour, has made this a defining year for the 34-year-old.
He swapped Barcelona for PSG following contract issues at the Nou Camp, and has received the backing of his new boss.
Pochettino told El Partidazo de COPE : “The Ballon d’Or should go to Messi without any doubt.
“And if I didn’t coach Messi, I would still say Messi. I answer with my heart. I always say what I feel. On the podium with him would have to be (Robert) Lewandowski and Cristiano.”
Messi won the most recent Ballon d’Or in 2019, with last year’s prize being scrapped due to the pandemic.
Many felt Lewandowski, who won the treble with Bayern Munich, was deserving of the award after a record breaking year.
Luka Modric currently remains the only man other than Messi or Ronaldo to win the award since 2007.
Messi’s PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe is tipped by many to one day win the Ballon d’Or following a sensational start to his career.
At just 22 the Frenchman has time on his side but his next move could be crucial with his contract winding down.
Real Madrid came knocking in the summer, only to see their offers rejected by the Parisians, but they can now make moves in January regarding a free transfer.
Pochettino though is hopeful of Mbappe staying, with his mother issuing a recent update.
The PSG boss claimed: “Mbappe is fine, he’s a calm boy with a lot of personality and a very sociable character, he is clear about things and loves football, he’s very mature for 22 years old.
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“Kylian will make the decision he has to make and the club will do everything possible to keep him, because we’re taking about one of the best players in the world at 22.
“I’m left with the fact that the situation is open and in the future anything can happen, the position of a few months ago may change in the future.
“PSG as a club certainly have the ambition and ability to persuade him and offer him things so that he can stay and be happy, the possibilities that he could change his mind are there.”
Mbappe is into his fifth year at the Parc des Princes and has continued to win honours regularly, although the Champions League has eluded him and his team.