Messi praise for Spain pair
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi says his Nou Camp team-mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta deserve to win the Ballon d'Or in January.
The Argentina goal machine has dominated the award for the last three seasons and is set to be in the running again after hitting the back of the net 73 times in 2011-12.
However, he insists two of his colleagues also deserve recognition as the European Footballer of the Year.
"There's a long time to go before they announce a winner," he said. "We don't even know who's nominated yet.
"What I do hope is that it stays in the Barca squad. And the more Barca nominees, the better.
"Xavi and Iniesta deserve the award because of all they achieved at the Euros."
Xavi and Iniesta made history with Spain as the nation became the first to win three major tournaments in a row after securing the Euro 2012 crown earlier in the summer.