Zanetti backs Messi for Ballon d'Or

Lionel Messi is the best player in the world and should win the FIFA Ballon d'Or, according to Argentina legend Javier Zanetti.

Zanetti, capped a record 145 times by his country, has backed compatriot Messi to claim the award ahead of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

While Barcelona may have endured a sub-standard year, Messi has continued to add to his impressive list of personal achievements, becoming the all-time leading goalscorer in both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.

And Zanetti feels the 27-year-old is worthy of another Ballon d'Or gong.

"I'm hoping that Messi wins it - he's a true great," former Inter stalwart Zanetti told "He never stops surprising people: at any given moment he's capable of improvising with a touch of skill or something spectacular that can win you a game.

"In my view, he's the best player in the world."

Messi, Ronaldo and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer are on the shortlist for the award.