Former Barcelona star Xavi has admitted that Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite for the Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi this year.
Xavi and Ronaldo have squabbled in recent months as the Spanish legend has regularly called the Portuguese’s archival Messi the better of the two players. Nevertheless, the 36-year-old midfielder has conceded that Ronaldo is likely to claim a fourth Ballon d’Or gong later this year having enjoyed success both with club and country.
‘Cristiano has the numbers to win this year’s Ballon d’Or, having won the Champions League and the Euros,’ Xavi said at the Aspire4Sports event, reports Goal. ‘But I also think that it’ll be very competitive, because Messi will be there, of course.’
Barcelona have struggled without the injured Messi in recent weeks, falling to a painful loss at the hands of Celta Vigo to leaving them two points short of Real and Atletico Madrid at the top of the standings.
‘I wasn’t able to watch the game, but it looks like there were a lot of individual mistakes,’ Xavi noted. ‘But Barca are on another level and that’s something you see most of all when you leave the club.
‘With Luis Enrique, they’re working very well, but sometimes the result is misleading based on what you see on the pitch,’ he concluded.
Barcelona are next in action when they take welcome Deportivo La Coruna to the Camp Nou on October 15.
Kick-off is at 16:15.