Neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo should win the 2014 Ballon d'Or, according to UEFA president Michel Platini.
In a World Cup year the Frenchman believes the honour should go to a German international who played a key role in winning the World Cup - the year's most prestigious tournament.
That would mean a nod for a player like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller or World Cup winning goalscorer Mario Gotze.
In Platini's estimation, a player like Messi would be more deserving than Ronaldo though. The Argentina star single-handedly dragged his nation to the final while Ronaldo's Portugal crashed out at the group stage.
"I don't vote for the Ballon d'Or but, in principle, it's a player who has produced big performances in the tournament who wins it [World Cup]," Platini told beIn Sports as reported by Goal.com.
"So it should be a German this year. It was like that until 2010, when Messi won in spite of having an average World Cup, so nothing is certain for this year.
"However, what is certain is that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world along with Lionel Messi. There's no doubt about that."
Ronaldo to win?
Platini, himself a three-time Ballon d'Or winner, did not reveal which German team member he felt was most deserving, although there's no shortage of candidates after the country's memorable run to the final.
A 7-1 victory over hosts Brazil proved to be one remarkable high-point, while Gotze's extra time goal sealed the triumph for Joachim Low's side, the fourth time Germany have won the international competition.
Ronaldo is currently the heavy favourite to win the 2014 Ballon d'Or after a remarkable calendar year in which he helped Real Madrid to its tenth Champions League trophy.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world along with Lionel Messi. There's no doubt about that. - Platini
In this season so far he's scored 20 goals in 13 appearances, and his record towards the first half of 2014 was no less impressive. If we were going to stick our neck out, we'd go with Ronaldo over Messi with Muller third.
What do you think?
But is Platini right in his opinion that the Ballon d'Or should reward the best player on the best team - even if there are better players on poorer teams?
Messi and Ronaldo are clearly superior players but football is a team sport, and Muller and Schweinsteiger were the best players on better teams. The World Cup is designed to measure the best team, or at least come close.
But the Ballon d'Or is purely an individual award, and from that point of view, Ronaldo was the best individual over the calendar year with Messi a close second.
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