Sergio Aguero says his friend and Argentina teammate Lionel Messi deserves to win the 2013 Ballon d’Or even though the last 12 months have not been the best of his career.
Messi, 26, has won the last four Ballon d’Or awards, but after an injury-hit 2013 the Barcelona attacker is expected to miss out to arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid -- or Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich -- when this year's decision is announced at the gala ceremony in Zurich on Monday evening.
The Manchester City striker told ESPN Deportes that this would be unfair, given that it is clear Messi remains the best player in the world when fit.
Aguero, who spoke with Messi recently in the Catalan capital while filming a soft drink commercial, said they had discussed next month’s meeting between Barcelona and City in the Champions League last 16.
“We have spoken about the game but not made a bet,” he said. “We both feel the same. We expect it to be a nice game and even better [for me] if City win. We said that whoever did not go through in the Champions League will be left with hunger for the World Cup.”
The former Atletico Madrid forward believes eliminating Barcelona would be a big step forward for City.
“This is Barcelona,” Aguero said. “They are the best team in the world, and it will be difficult. We are in good form and have a good squad. It will be a very even tie. It is important to get a good result at home -- at home we are very strong doing very well. Afterwards, we will see. To knock out Barca would be a very important step. I hope to keep making history at this club.”