Ahead of FC Barcelona‘s Champions League clash with Olympiacos, Ernesto Valverde weighed into the Ballon d’Or banter proposing that everybody definitely knows who the world’s best player is.
Messi is a record five-time winner of the individual award, but he is expected to be joined on that count by Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo this year.
Both Ronaldo and Messi have shared the past nine Ballons d’Or and are broadly considered as the world’s two best players.
For Valverde, whose side host Greek club Olympiacos in the Champions League on Wednesday, he said he had no pinch of doubt who the best player is
“We all know the best player in the world,” he said to reporters at his pre-match press conference.
“The subject of that trophy is not an issue that worries me too much because I already know that Messi is the best.
“A ball more or a ball-less, whether made of gold, silver or bronze, makes no difference.”
The Catalans can take a giant stride towards qualification from their group with a win over Olympiacos on Wednesday.
“It is exciting to play against Olympiacos because I received a lot of affection there,” Valverde continued.
“It’s a club used to winning.
“They will try to surprise us and from experience, I know they will fight until the end.
“I do not know why I like Olympiacos so much, the affection is reciprocal.
“The Greeks always treated me phenomenally, and more important than what I won there (three leagues and two cups) is the people I met.”
Samuel Umtiti has become especially important for the Blaugrana, but there are other slots in the team still up for grabs.
“Umtiti is a fundamental player for us,” he said.
“We are absolutely happy with him, he has aggression, he is young and he can still give us much more.
“Andre Gomes can play in Dembele’s position, he is strong, knows my strategy and can block the rival player, which in the case of Atletico was very strong.
“Then I have Deulofeu who can unbalance a match at any time.
“There are a lot of players who deserve to play and it’s a problem for me to pick the squad after training.”