Lionel Messi not voting for Cristiano Ronaldo in Ballon d'Or
Barcelona's Lionel Messi will not vote for Cristiano Ronaldo in Ballon d'Or
Barcelona star Lionel Messi will not be voting for Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo when he chooses the players he believes are worthy of winning the Ballon d'Or.
Messi and Ronaldo are the favourites to claim the prize this year, while the Barcelona forward has triumphed over the Portuguese in the past three seasons.
Ronaldo was awarded the Ballon d'Or in 2008 while he was still a Manchester United, but has been unable to claim the top individual prize in football since moving to Real Madrid.
The 27-year-old would certainly be a worthy recipient of the 2012 edition, although Ronaldo will not be able to count on the support of Messi in the voting process.
Messi says his votes will go to Barcelona teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta, with the Camp Nou duo both having played key supporting roles in the Argentine's dominance in recent seasons.
The 25-year-old does, however, believe the recipient of the Ballon d'Or could be a player from the Santiago Bernabeu, with Messi stating that Ronaldo and Real Madrid teammate Iker Casillas are in the running.
"I do not know who is on the shortlist. I will vote for Xavi, Andres [Iniesta] and definitely one of my countrymen," Messi told Marca.
"I think it could be [Iker] Casillas' Ballon d'Or, he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and also Cristiano [Ronaldo].
Messi added: "When something happens, the press look to compare [Messi and Ronaldo]. We are rivals on the field, nothing more. They look around ourselves to compete. It's tiring me a bit."