Lionel Messi: Andres Iniesta deserves to win Ballon d'Or

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Lionel Messi says he would have no problem in losing out to Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta in the 2012 Ballon d'Or, and believes the Spaniard would be thoroughly deserving of the accolade.

Messi and Iniesta are joined in on the three-man shortlist for football's most prestigious individual prize by Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, and this year's winner will be revealed in January.

Barcelona record-breaker Messi has received the award for the past three seasons and can make yet more history by becoming the first player to triumph on four occasions.

Messi is unsurprisingly the overwhelming favourite to win the Ballon d'Or again given his amazing goalscoring feats in 2012, but the Argentine would happily see Iniesta take the trophy.

"I would not mind giving the Ballon d'Or to Andres," Messi said following Barcelona's 2-1 defeat of Real Betis on Sunday. "He deserves it for how well he and the team are doing."

Messi set a new world record in the win over Betis, which kept Barcelona top of La Liga, by scoring his 85th and 86th goals of 2012 for club and country.

The 25-year-old has surpassed German legend Gerd Muller, who scored 85 times for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972, and has four more games for Barcelona this year to further extend his record.

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