Messi should beat Ronaldo to Ballon d’Or - Martino

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 00:37 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters - Debates about who is world’s best player will rage when Lionel Messi faces Cristiano Ronaldo as Argentina play Portugal at Old Trafford on Tuesday, but for Argentina coach Gerardo Martino there is only ever one choice. Barcelona’s Messi and Real Madrid’s Ronaldo continually go head-to-head to top the scoring charts in La Liga and the Champions League, and FIFA’s Player of the Year award has become a two-horse race between the pair in recent years. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (R) reacts as Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo walks during their Spanish first division ‘Clasico’ soccer match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid October 25, 2014/File photo. Martino said Messi would get his vote every year for the award, officially known as the Ballon d’Or, over current holder Ronaldo. He did admit, though, he was more than a little biased. “You can’t take out of the deciding process I am Argentinian, my heart lies with Messi,” Martino, who previously managed Barcelona, told a news conference on Monday. “I am not the best person to judge, I cannot separate sentiment from my objective decision. Whatever season Messi has had on footballing grounds, I would still vote for him. “I would vote for him on footballing terms. You can’t separate what he is like as a human from what he is as a player.” Messi and Ronaldo top the billing for the game but the performance of Manchester United and Argentina winger Angel Di Maria will provide an interesting subtext. The 26-year-old, a British transfer record signing of 59.7 million pounds ($93.41 million)from Real Madrid in the close season, will play at Old Trafford hoping for an upturn in the fortunes he has enjoyed there in a club shirt. Martino believes that the winger will overcome a dip in his recent form once he gets used to the Premier League. “Angel is one of the top, top players in world football,” Martino said. “His start (at United) was exceptional. But generally when players go to a new club and have to get used to a new league, a new team, a different style of football and different team-mates, I think the form that he is showing now is possibly more typical of that player.”($1 = 0.6391 British Pounds)

 Messi hints he may one day leave Barcelona

  BARCELONA (Reuters) - Argentina captain Lionel Messi has given the strongest hint yet he could consider leaving Barcelona, saying in an interview published in Ole newspaper on Tuesday “things can change a lot in soccer”. The four-times World Player of the Year, who joined Barca’s academy at the age of 13, has not been at his scintillating best over the past 18 months and has also had problems with the Spanish tax authorities. Now 27, Messi probably has at least five years left at the top of the game and if the right offer was made, likely to be a world record fee in excess of 100 million euros ($125 million), it is not inconceivable he could quit Barca.