Journalist's funny tweet about Lionel Messi's 2019 Ballon d'Or chances after Espanyol display

Leo Messi

Lionel Messi, one of the greatest footballers the beautiful game has ever seen, has probably just endured some of the toughest few days of his career.

He was classed by the Ballon d'Or as the fifth best player in the world, behind Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and 2018 winner Luka Modric.

That's despite leading the charts across Europe's top five leagues in 2017-18 for goals (45), assists (18), key scoring chances created (94) and take-ons (over 200).

Then, Pele decided to criticise Messi's ability, claiming that the Argentine only has one skill, is too reliant on his left foot and doesn't head the ball well.

However, in typical fashion, Barcelona's captain did his talking on the pitch on Saturday evening and produced an absolute masterclass in the 4-0 derby win at Espanyol.

Messi magic too much for Espanyol

In his first match since the 2018 Ballon d'Or ceremony and the emergence of Pele's comments, Messi tore Barca's city rivals to shreds with pure brilliance.

Messi hugs Ousmane Dembele during Espanyol 0-4 Barca

The 31-year-old opened and closed the scoring with two perfect free-kicks and provided a great assist for Ousmane Dembele too in what was a virtuoso display.

Journalist's funny tweet about 2019 Ballon d'Or

With so much outrage surrounding Messi's fifth-placed finish, one journalist found some humour in the situation by tweeting about next year's competition.

Roy Nemer owns and runs Mundo Albiceleste; an informational website about everything to do with Argentinian football, from the national team to the country's clubs.

An overjoyed Messi after scoring against Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup

After Messi's Man of the Match display, Nemer took to Twitter to joke that the forward might move up a place to fourth in the 2019 Ballon d'Or if he continues his current form.

The tweet racked up thousands of retweets and 'likes' and reads: "If Messi keeps putting in these types of performances, maybe he'll be able to finish in fourth place next year in the Ballon d'Or."

The Derbi Barceloni win leaves Barca three points clear of Sevilla and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga ahead of Wednesday's Champions League encounter against Tottenham.

Messi: Fifth best in the world?

Messi and Ronaldo remain on five Ballons d'Or each, but while Juventus' summer signing finished in second, surely we can all agree that Leo should've been higher than fifth.

Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at a FIFA Awards ceremony

Even CR7 fans feel the little magician's low ranking makes the award lose credibility, especially when you consider that he's been on fire for Ernesto Valverde's men this season.

With an outstanding 17 goals and nine assists in just 17 matches so far in 2018-19, Messi is well on his way to righting what many view as the wrongs of the latest Ballon d'Or ceremony.

Where do YOU think Leo Messi should've ranked in the 2018 Ballon d'Or? Is he on his way to winning the 2019 award? Drop YOUR opinions in the comments box below!

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