Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi says he has "no doubts" longtime Real Madrid rival Karim Benzema should win the Ballon d'Or this year after triumphing in the Champions League final over Liverpool on Saturday.
Messi spent the majority of his career at Barcelona going head-to-head with Benzema in La Liga, however he still recognises the achievements of the French striker.
Additionally, Messi commented on last year's Ballon d'Or race and subsequent remarks made by Robert Lewandowski suggesting the Argentine was insincere in his acceptance speech, although the Polish forward has since said his words were misinterpreted.
"I think there are no doubts Benzema should win Ballon d'Or," Messi told TyC Sports. "It is very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up elevating himself with the Champions League, being essential from the last 16 onwards in all the games. I think there are no doubts this year."
Benzema scored 15 goals in the Champions League, including the winners in the knockout rounds against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City. He also won La Liga with 27 goals and 12 assists in the competition.
When accepting last year's Ballon d'Or, Messi took time in his speech to directly mention Lewandowski and say the Bayern Munich star deserved to have at least one of football's top individual honour to his name.
Lewandowski was initially quoted as saying Messi's speech contained "empty words" but later said his remarks were misinterpreted and clarified that Messi's speech "really touched" him.
Regardless, Messi has told TyC Sports that he was never interested in Lewandowski's comments.
"Everyone says what they want and obviously he can express himself and say what he wants," he said. "I honestly don't share what he said but I didn't give it much importance either. That's it, it was there and he can say what he wants and I do not care."