Leo Messi is Ballon d’Or favourite as France Football team spotted in Barcelona
Barça captain is rumoured to have told Neymar Jr. he would leave the club “in two years,” and “only together” can they win the Champions League
A team from the football magazine France Football have been spotted in Barcelona, giving an indication that FC Barcelona captain Leo Messi is this year’s winner of the Ballon d’Or.
Every year, the organizers of the award given by the French football magazine meet with the winner in the week before the ceremony to conduct interviews and a photoshoot, and this week they’ve been spotted in Catalonia, suggesting the Argentine will pick up the accolade.
If Messi does pick up the award, it will be his record 6th Ballon d'Or, putting him one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was last crowned the winner in 2017.
Local sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo revealed the French journalists had made the visit to the Catalan capital.
France Football has also claimed that the Barça star told former teammate Neymar Jr. that “only together” can they win the Champions League, and that in “two years” he would leave Barcelona, meaning the Brazilian would be the successor to Messi’s throne once he leaves.
The supposed conversation is said to have taken place over the phone following Barcelona’s collapse at the hands of Liverpool in the semi-finals of last year’s Champions League.
Former teammates Neymar and Messi
Neymar and Messi played together at FC Barcelona for four years, and built up an excellent relationship both on the pitch and off it, alongside another South American in the club’s attack line, Luis Suárez.
The Brazilian winger then left for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017 for a world-record €222 million, but Neymar is said to have later regretted making that move.
Last summer there were serious negotiations between the boards of Barcelona and PSG about the possibility of bringing Neymar Jr. back to the Camp Nou, and defender Gerard Piqué recently admitted to the media that the Barcelona squad were willing to take pay cuts in order to facilitate the return of their former teammate.
Ultimately, the talks broke down and Neymar stayed in France, but the latest reported efforts from Lionel Messi to bring his friend back to Catalonia could see a return to the negotiation table next summer.
43 goals and FIFA's The Best award
Messi won FIFA’s The Best award in September in a ceremony in Milan, an individual honour similar to that of France Football’s Ballon d’Or.
Also favourited among the 30-man shortlist for the December 2 Ballon d’Or award are Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
So far in 2019, the Barça ace has scored 43 goals for club and country while his side are still to play seven more games this year, giving him the chance to add to that goal tally. Messi also picked up his 10th La Liga title and the 2019 Super Cup, while helping his side reach the final of the Copa del Rey and the semi-final of the Champions League.
During the summer, his national side, Argentina, finished 3rd at the Copa America.