Zanetti backs Messi for Ballon d'Or prize

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 FIFA.com. "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.