Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is shockedi7o7 that Lionel Messi will not be set to characteristic on the Ballon d’Or podium for the primary time since 2006.
France Soccer will announce 2018’s winner of the distinguished particular person award — given to the perfect participant on this planet over the course of the calendar yr — on Monday.
The ultimate three for the prize has not been revealed formally but it surely’s been leaked that Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann will compete for the honour.
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Messi, 31, has won the Ballon d’Or 5 instances, most just lately in 2015. The Argentine helped Barca win a league and cup double earlier this yr and has began the brand new marketing campaign in nice type, with 15 objectives already to his title.
“It surprises me as a lot as anybody else,” Valverde mentioned in a information convention on Saturday forward of this weekend’s league sport towards Villarreal at Camp Nou.
“Messi’s been named the perfect participant within the Champions League this season after the primary, second and fifth spherical of fixtures — and he did not play within the third and fourth video games as a result of he was injured. That is not us saying that, both, it is [an award] picked by UEFA. It is just a little unusual he isn’t within the working.”
FIFA The Finest winner Modric, who won the Champions League with Real Madrid and reached the World Cup closing with Croatia, is predicted to win Ballon d’Or.
“To people who are among the many closing three, congratulations,” Valverde added. “Everyone seems to be free to assume what they need, however it’s unusual, sure [that Messi is no shortlisted].”
Messi will begin towards Villarreal on Sunday as Barca take care of a mini-injury disaster. Luis Suarez, Arthur Melo, Rafinha and Sergi Roberto are among the many gamers sidelined for the fixture.
Samuel Umtiti can also be lacking as he continues to battle with a knee downside. The France defender is eager to keep away from surgical procedure and can head to Qatar for remedy this month. If the damage would not heal, Valverde says Barca could have to look to the switch market in January for reinforcements.
“Sadly [Umtiti is] nonetheless having issues,” Valverde mentioned. “He’s a massively vital participant for us and we nonetheless hope he may also help us this yr. We’ve to assist him get better. It is not straightforward, however he can have the final phrase [on surgery].
“We’ve this month to assess the scenario and have a look at [signings]. For now, we’ve got to push ahead with the gamers we’ve got and the B staff. The January switch window is across the nook and we can have to make selections then.”
Barca host 17th positioned Villarreal having failed to win of their final two league video games. They at present path leaders Sevilla by some extent and Valverde known as on his gamers to reclaim prime spot.
“What I’m concerned about is getting again to the highest of the desk,” he mentioned. “There’ll all the time be criticism, that is nothing new, however all I am anxious about is successful [on Sunday] and preserving my gamers match.”