Ahead of Monday’s Ballon d’Or trio announcement, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique claimed that Lionel Messi deserves the crown this year.

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique believes that everybody has the right to their own opinion on who should be the best player of 2014 and insisted that Lionel Messi was his choice. Messi, whose magnificent week saw him score two back-to-back hat-tricks to beat both Zarra’s La Liga and Raul’s Champions League all-time goalscoring records, has the vote of confidence from his manager.Real Madrid recently launched a scathing criticism of Uefa President Michel Platini who suggested that a German deserves the Ballon d’Or crown after their World Cup success. The former Barcelona and Real Madrid player Enrique also felt that the European Champions were a bit naïve to complain that everybody is not rooting for Cristiano Ronaldo. Unsurprisingly, the Barcelona coach declared his vote of confidence for the Argentine and claimed that Messi deserves the crown this year for his outstanding displays.

“I don’t want to exacerbate things with Real Madrid after what Platini said, but everyone is allowed their own opinion,” Luis Enrique told reporters at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s visit to Valencia.”This prize is for the best player of the season and that is Messi, so I would give the Ballon d’Or to Leo.”

Barcelona defender and former team-mate of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gerard Pique also believes that Messi is more naturally talented than the Portuguese star.The duo have collectively won the past six Ballon d’Or titles with Messi’s four triumphs sandwiched between Ronaldo’s 2008 win and the success last year. As a result both are once again the frontrunners for the crown this year. Pique who was a team-mate of Ronaldo in Manchester United believes that Messi is more gifted than the Real Madrid man but praised the Portuguese for the effort he puts in to stay at the same level with the Argentine.

“Messi is more of a natural talent,” Pique told reporters before the game against Valencia on Sunday. “He’s not as obsessed with training. It is not a matter of whose better but of perception.”I admire the mental strength shown by Cristiano after Messi won the Ballon d’Or four times. I was pleased for him that he had won in 2013.”

“It’s not only just the talent though. Behind Messi there is a lot of work, he’s a formidable force with a very powerful engine that makes him tick. Cristiano is more physical than Messi, yes, but if you lack the physical ability, nothing works.”