‘Messi deserves Ballon d'Or every year’
Barcelona star Lionel Messi should win the Ballon d'Or award every year, according to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, after the Argentine was beaten to the prize by Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
"The Ballon d'Or should be Messi's every year as he is the best player in the history of football," said Bartomeu on Tuesday.
"There are other good players but Messi is undoubtedly number one."
Ronaldo was crowned the world's best footballer for a fourth time earlier this month, edging out long-time nemesis Messi, who is a record five-time winner of the award.
The decision was heavily questioned by those at the Camp Nou, especially after Messi's sublime display in Sunday's 4-1 defeat of neighbours Espanyol in the Catalan derby.
But Ronaldo was rewarded for helping Real win the Champions League and leading Portugal to Euro 2016 glory.
The Ballon d'Or has passed back and forth between Ronaldo and Messi for the last nine years, since Brazilian Kaka won the 2007 award.
Bartomeu also indicated the Spanish champions are prepared to make Lionel Messi the world's highest-paid player to keep the Argentine superstar at the club.
"Leo Messi is the best (player) in the history of football and we want him to stay with us," Bartomeu told reporters on Tuesday.
"There will be negotiations...but even if I don't want to talk about figures, if he's the best player in the world it makes sense that he is so from all points of view."
After extending the contracts of Neymar and Luis Suarez until 2021, Barca are desperate to keep hold of the five-time World Player of the Year, whose deal expires in 2018.