Barcelona striker Lionel Messi says he would have preferred to have had Luis Suarez in the final three of the Ballon d’Or but concedes Cristiano Ronaldo deserved his nomination.
Messi was speaking at La Liga’s awards night where he was recognised as the best player in Spain after helping Barcelona to a treble in 2014-15.
The Ballon d’Or shortlist for the final three was also announced on Monday and Messi’s team-mate Neymar and Ronaldo will make up the podium.
In 2015, Messi has 48 goals in 54 games for club and country, while Ronaldo has 48 goals in 52 games.
Neymar, Suarez and Messi have scored 125 goals for Barcelona in this calendar year but Ronaldo was preferred to the Uruguay striker.
“I’m happy to be once again among the top three. Happy to be with Neymar,” Messi said at the awards night.
“I’d have liked to be on [the] podium with Neymar and Luis.
“Luis Suarez deserved also to be among the top three, but do not detract from Cristiano Ronaldo, who also deserved it.”