Former Real Madrid and Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque believes the ballon d’Or isn’t the same without Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
The Argentine magician has won the award on five occasions – dominating football top honour alongside Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo for the past decade.
But this year, their names have been missing from the rumoured final three list as Luka Modric, Kylian Mbappe and Raphael Varane are the reported names that are going to contest for the prestigious award.
Messi is widely regarded as the best player in the world, and his rumoured absence has stunned many, including former Madrid coach Del Bosque.
In an interview to Spanish newspaper Marca, Bosque stated that the award loses its value if the Messi is not included.
“I think it [the award] loses all value if Messi is not leading the best players in the world,” del Bosque said to MARCA in an interview.
“I am very surprised that Messi isn’t there. It is, at the very least, a little strange.”
The Ballon d’Or ceremony will be held in Paris on December 3, and since France Football released their thirty-man shortlist for the award, it has been rumoured that the top three spots will be filled by Modric, Varane and Mbappe.
Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid as well as guiding underdogs Croatia to the final of the World Cup.
Defender Raphael Varane won the Champions League and World Cup this year while French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe earned a lot of plaudits for his display at the World Cup.
Madrid playmaker Modric already won the 2018 Best Fifa Footballer of the Year in a ceremony held in London.