Former France defender Frank Leboeuf has claimed that Lionel Messi does not deserve to win the 2021 Ballon d'Or because of his red card earlier this year.
Messi was sent off during Barcelona's clash with Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa de Espana final in January after hitting out at Asier Villalibre.
It was the Argentine's first red card of his club career, and Lebouef believes feels Messi does not deserve the award due to that.
"In 2000 and 2006, Zidane didn't win the Ballon d'Or because he got a red card in each year,” Lebouef said on TeleFoot.
“Messi got a red card in the Spanish Super Cup for punching someone, that counts. If we didn't give it to Zizou, we shouldn't give it to Messi."
Messi has been touted as the favourite to lift his seventh Ballon d'Or this year after he led Argentina to a long-awaited Copa America triumph this summer. He also picked the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards for his performances in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Jorge Mendes has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win the Ballon d'Or this year "more than he ever has". "The numbers do the talking and they should be enough," the super agent said. "He scored 115 goals for Portugal, becoming the world record holder with the national teams. He is the best scorer in the history of football.
"It is a decisive thing and means he must win the trophy because he continues to prove that he is the best player in history."