Barcelona [Spain], July 18 (ANI): Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said that Argentine striker Lionel Messi is the favourite to win Ballon d'Or.
Messi won his first international title with Argentina earlier this month as the side defeated Brazil in the finals of the Copa America.
"Messi is vitally important. For what he brings to the team, he's the captain and an example. His goalscoring has been brilliant despite a difficult start," Koeman told Barcelona's official website.
"He has shown time and again he is the best in the world. I know how much he wanted to win the Copa America and he has done it at last. Messi is the prime candidate for the Ballon d'Or after a great season and, for me, he is the favourite," he added.
Messi managed to score 38 goals in 47 matches for Barcelona in the last season, including 30 in La Liga.
The Argentine striker also recorded four goals and five assists for the national side in Copa America and as a result, he was adjudged as Player of the Tournament.
Messi is all set to sign a new five-year contract with Spanish club Barcelona. Along with signing a new deal, Messi will also be taking a 50 per cent wage cut, reported Goal.com.
Messi has agreed to take a cut on his yearly earnings in order to re-sign for Barcelona, and the club will make a formal announcement in the coming weeks. (ANI)