The Argentina international turns 29 in June and still has plenty of time to add at least two or potentially even three Ballon d’Or awards to his collection.
But there’s one player that Messi expects to win club football’s top individual award before too long - and that’s Neymar.
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Messi, according to Barcelona’s official website, has described Neymar as a “future winner of the Ballon d’Or” thanks to his “skill, his pace and his dribbling.”
The Brazilian only managed to secure 7.86 per cent of the total votes for the 2015 Ballon d’Or, despite scoring 39 goals and winning all three major trophies last season, but Messi is confident his close friend will receive significantly more votes over the coming years.
Neymar has proved his doubters wrong
Many people questioned whether Neymar would be able to handle playing second-fiddle to Messi at the Camp Nou, and whether he could adjust to the style of football played by the Catalan giants, following his big-money move from Santos in 2013 but the 23-year-old has adjusted with consummate ease.
From day one, Neymar has shown a willingness to learn and improve, while he makes no secret of the fact Messi is his footballing idol.
Neymar may have surpassed Ronaldo
Some believe Neymar has now surpassed Ronaldo as the planet’s second-best player - and if world football’s international coaches, captains and journalists feel the same then expect Neymar to win the Ballon d’Or in the not-too-distant future.
Could Neymar even beat Lionel Messi to next year’s Ballon d’Or award? Let us know by leaving a comment below.