Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic believes any individual prize Lionel Messi cannot win this season should go to his Croatia team-mate Luka Modric.
Fresh from winning the World Cup Golden Ball after leading his nation to the final, Modric was named the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year and is a contender for the Best FIFA Men’s Player.
Messi missed out on being nominated for the latter, with Real Madrid midfielder Modric competing with Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah for the prize.
Rakitic believes Modric deserves the Best award, and any other honour his Barcelona team-mate Messi cannot win.
“If there is an individual prize that Lionel Messi can’t win, then there’s no doubt that this season it should go to Luka Modric,” he told Marca.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he were to win with many more votes. This has been his year and I am really happy for him.
“If Messi isn’t the best, then it has to be Modric.”
As well as leading Croatia to the World Cup final, Modric helped Madrid win the Champions League last season.