Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has said that he expects star striker Lionel Messi to lift the FIFA Ballon d’Or award this season. The FIFA Ballon d’Or is one of the most coveted awards given to the exceptional player during a season.

Lionel Messi has created history by winning the title three times in succession, which has not happened in recent times. He could create history once again by becoming the unprecedented winner of the fourth consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Or award. Despite having scored 73 goals in all competitions for Barcelona last season, he is not the favourite to win the title.

This is because the FIFA Ballon d’Or is usually given to the winner of a major title, who has also helped his team in an exceptional way over the course of the season. Lionel Messi finished in the second position in the league, while was also knocked out of the Champions League in the semifinals. As a result, he is not the favourite to win the award. In addition to this, several Barcelona players like Iniesta performed exceptionally well at the Euro 2012. Cristiano Ronaldo has also scored more than 50 goals for Real Madrid, while also helping them win the title.

"Messi? We are talking about a player who scored more than 80 goals [for Barca and Argentina], that is crazy. If I had to vote for the Ballon d'Or, I would give it to Messi, then Xavi and Andres Iniesta," said Mascherano in a recent interview. It remains to be seen if the Argentine midfielder will continue to play in the defensive positions. Former Barcelona manager Guardiola converted the midfielder into the Centre back last season, but it had mixed results. Barcelona recently appointed the former assistant manager Tito Villanova as a replacement for Guardiola, who stepped down from his post last season.

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