Lionel Messi's 2018-19 stats compared to the 2018 Ballon d'Or top three players

Leo Messi

Barcelona may not have won the Champions League this season but they did manage to retain the Spanish title and also win the Supercopa de Espana.

Ernesto Valverde's men cruised to the La Liga title, finishing 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, but they lost 2-1 to Valencia on Saturday in the Copa del Rey final.

Earlier this week, Lionel Messi admitted he still hasn't got the 4-0 loss to Liverpool out of his head, despite enjoying a superb first year as Barca captain.

Valencia were 2-0 up inside 33 minutes at the Benito Villamarin thanks to goals from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo, and while 31-year-old Messi pulled one back, it wasn't enough.

Even critics were left bemused when Messi ended fifth in the 2018 Ballon d'Or rankings, so how does his 2018-19 campaign compare to the three players who finished highest in that award?

The 2018 Ballon d'Or rankings

Luka Modric ended the decade-long reign of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi when he won the coveted Ballon d'Or back in December.

Luka Modric at the 2018 Ballon d'Or gala

The midfield maestro guided Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final in Russia and, like Ronaldo, starred as Real Madrid won a third consecutive Champions League.

Ronaldo came in second, World Cup winners Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe finished third and fourth respectively, leaving Messi down in fifth position.

Messi v 2018 Ballon d'Or top 3 in 2018-19

Cristiano scored 28 times in his first season at Juventus, while Griezmann fired in 21 goals for Atletico before announcing that he'll be leaving the club this summer.

Antoine Griezmann celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid

Messi bagged 36 goals in La Liga alone, three in the Copa del Rey, and 12 more in Europe, meaning he scored more on his own (51) than Ronaldo and Griezmann combined (49).

In terms of assists, Griezmann provided 11, Ronaldo registered ten and Modric, who also scored four goals in 2018-19, set up seven goals for Los Blancos.

Leo Messi recorded 19 assists in all competitions, meaning he bettered Ronaldo and Modric's combined tally (17) and was only nine behind CR7, Griezmann and Modric put together.

Leo Messi celebrates against Liverpool

Football is ultimately about winning trophies, and Modric and Griezmann picked up one each this term - the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup respectively.

Ronaldo helped Juve to an eighth straight Serie A title and scored the winner as they lifted the Supercoppa Italiana, with Messi also winning two trophies at Barca.

What next for Leo Messi?

After a season which leaves him as the firm favourite for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, Messi now turns his attention once again to trying to win a first major trophy with his country.

Messi during Argentina's friendly with Venezuela

Argentina's all-time leading scorer returned to international duty earlier this year and is set to feature in the Copa America - which kicks off in Brazil on June 14.

Do YOU think Messi has been the best player in the world this season? Is he YOUR favourite to win the 2019 Ballon d'Or? Drop YOUR opinions in the comments box below!

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