Messi, not Ronaldo, the best in the world – Martino

Despite congratulating the Real Madrid forward for winning the Ballon d’Or, the Blaugrana coach insists that his Argentina international remains the top dog

Gerardo Martino remains convinced that Barcelona have the best player in the world in Lionel Messi, despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s Ballon d’Or win on Monday.

The Real Madrid attacker pipped the four-time victor to the Fifa trophy by garnering 27.99 per cent of the vote compared to Messi’s 24.72% and Ribery’s 23.36%.

The Camp Nou coach stressed the difference between the greatest player over 12 months and the best overall, but applauded Ronaldo nonetheless for receiving more votes than Messi for the first time in five years.

“Congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo, the Ballon d’Or recognises what he achieved last year,” Martino told reporters, ahead of the Catalans’ Copa del Rey second-leg last-16 tie at Getafe on Wednesday.

“It is one thing for a player to be the best in one year, though, and another for being the best in the world. We have the best player [Messi] here.”

The Argentine trainer also heralded Marc Bartra after it was confirmed on Wednesday that the defender was to be given a new contract until 2017 at the club.

“The renewal of Bartra is great news,” Martino continued. “He is a young footballer who is really improving.”

Barca hold a 4-0 advantage over Getafe heading into Thursday’s cup clash, with qualification from the round ensuring a quarter-final game against either Rayo Vallecano or Levante later this month.

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