Italy coach Marcello Lippi says Barcelona's Lionel Messi would be a worthy winner of the Ballon d'Or.
The 21-year-old Argentina playmaker faces stiff competition from the likes of Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool forward Fernando Torres, both stealing the limelight in the Premier League and in Europe.
Lippi said: "For me the candidates for the Ballon D'or are just three: Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres and Messi. They could have done without the rest.
"As for who is the best in the world, in my opinion it's Leo Messi."
The award will be presented in a ceremony hosted by French magazine France Football in December.