Zanetti backs Messi for Ballon d'Or
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.