Lionel Messi deserves to win the Ballon d'Or despite missing out on LaLiga and Champions League glory with Barcelona, claims Lucas Digne.
Messi enjoyed another fine campaign with 54 goals in all competitions but holder Cristiano Ronaldo is tipped to match the Barca star's feat of earning five Ballons d'Or, having helped Real Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League success in 2016-17.
Barca team-mate and France international full-back Digne, however, says no one comes close to the level of Messi – who celebrates his 30th birthday on Saturday.
"Of course I believe that Messi should win the Ballon d'Or, because he is by far the greatest player in the world," the 23-year-old told Omnisport.
"Nobody is near to his natural talent as a player. And his stats are excellent - just like they were last year, when he was also the best player for me and in a league of his own.
"Other players may win big titles and also be very good players, but they don't have the skills that Messi has."
Messi topped LaLiga's scoring charts with 37 goals – eight more than his nearest challenger and team-mate Luis Suarez, and 12 ahead of Ronaldo.
He also netted 11 times in the Champions League as Barca lost to Juventus in the quarter-finals.