independent– Pep Guardiola has insisted that Lionel Messi deserved to win this year’s Ballon d’Or, following the Argentina forward’s record seventh triumph.
Messi was named the best men’s player in the world on Monday night, beating Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho to win the award.
Messi won his first four Ballon d’Or trophies between 2009 and 2012 while playing under Guardiola at Barcelona, and the Spanish coach has said his former player was worthy of this year’s prize.
“You can never say it is unfair Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d’Or,” Manchester City coach Guardiola said on Tuesday amid suggestions from many fans and pundits that Lewandowski was more deserving.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “You can give it to Lionel Messi for the career he has had, all these kind of things, but then don’t give it to Robert Lewandowski this time.
“So, it’s quite tricky to win it at all.”
Messi moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, with his Ballon d’Or win predominantly honouring his achievements with the Catalan Club and Argentina.
In July, Messi finally won the Copa America with Argentina, also earning the best player prize and finishing as top-scorer alongside Luis Diaz.
Since joining PSG, the 34-year-old has scored four goals and registered three assists across 11 appearances.