Lionel Messi has claimed that his Paris Saint-Germain team-mates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez are currently some of the best players in the world right now.
The Argentinian has named his four-man list of 2021 Ballon d’Or contenders – but it doesn’t include Manchester United great Cristiano Ronaldo, with the five-time Ballon d’Or and Champions League winner appearing to have been snubbed by his long-time rival Messi.
Generally viewed as two of the greatest – if not the greatest – players of all time, the pair have lit up world football for more than 15 years now.
Such has been their dominance, Ronaldo and Messi have won the Ballon d’Or a staggering 11 times between them.
It might soon be 12, too, as Argentina great Messi closes in on the 2021 accolade – after finally leading his country to glory on the international stage at Copa America.
Speaking to France Football, the Barcelona legend – who traded Spain for PSG this summer, said: “In my team, there are two for whom I will easily vote; Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
“And then Robert Lewandowski, who has just had a great year and Karim Benzema, who was excellent.”
Messi also thinks Villa stopper Martinez is “one of the best goalkeepers in the world”, which is fitting after the Argentina number one was nominated for the 2021 Yashin Trophy last week.
His bold claim came after the Villa man helped Argentina beat Uruguay 3-0 in Monday’s World Cup qualifier in Buenos Aires.
Martinez only made his Argentina debut in June and has kept six clean sheets in his 11 appearances since.
Messi told TNT Sports: “Dibu [Emiliano] Martinez is fundamental. When they come to him, he always responds.
“The truth is he established himself after the Copa America.
“We have one of the best goalkeepers in the world, without a doubt. We take advantage of it.”