Barcelona's Lionel Messi receives the trophy for best player of the match after the Joan Gamper trophy soccer match against Santos at the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Aug 2, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) )
Even though Cristiano Ronaldo has been crowned the king of world soccer, Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino still believes that Lionel Messi is the best player in the world.
"First, I must congratulate Cristiano Ronaldo and all the people who won, as it is an important prize. It is the recognition of the work done during a year," said Martino, according to ESPN.
Ronaldo scored 69 goals in 59 games in 2013 while Messi topped 40 in far less matches. Despite the off-year, Martino asserts that Messi's body of work has been more compelling over the last few years.
"But the winner over one year is one thing, and a different thing is the best player in the world -- we have him here," he stated. "What he wants is for things to go well at Barcelona, and then with Argentina. From there the Ballon d'Or will be evaluated. But he is thinking first about being a decisive player for his club and country."
Martino's response is not surprising considering he coaches Messi at Barcelona.
Both superstars are likely to compete for the Ballon d'Or in 2014 but they will have more competition from the likes of Luis Suarez and Neymar among others. The World Cup will also have a major influence on the award, which will likely help determine the winner. Messi's Argentina is considered a favorite for the competition while Ronaldo's Portugal will need to overcome a number of hurdles to win the tournament.
Which player is the favorite in 2014?