‘Ballon d’Or not a priority for Leo’

Rodrigo Messi has insisted that the Ballon d’Or is not a priority for his brother Lionel as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

Speaking on Onda Cero’s Al Primer Toque programme, Rodrigo also responded to suggestions the Barcelona star had returned to first team action too soon before he broke down again against Real Betis two weeks ago.

“For Leo the Ballon d’Or is second or third on his list of priorities. The times he has received this award have been deserved but he is not working to overcome the challenge of winning it again. He plays sport, enjoys himself…goals come naturally to him.

“As he has said, it’s not all about beating records. He has managed to achieve those goals and been rewarded for it. Those prizes are valued.

“He and Cristiano Ronaldo are two powerhouses of world football and for those of us that like football that is very beautiful,” he explained.

“Right now Leo is going through a critical time for any player. It’s a shame he’s got this injury with so many things coming up, but when something like that happens you have to be prepared.

“He’s doing well and is very strong emotionally. His family are also there to support him.”

Rodrigo was critical of people who have reportedly intimated that Lionel has not looked after his fitness as well as he should have.

“He has a privileged body and the way he plays he needs to be doubly strong. He has always done extra work in that respect, but injuries occur when they occur.

“For me, someone who is a part of his everyday life, it surprises me when they say he doesn’t look after himself. It’s normal for everyone to have an opinion but he, more than anybody, looks after himself so that he is okay.

“It’s obvious he always wants to play. If he feels good and he can play then he will do, but he felt in the last game that something was wrong.

“Leo has nothing to do with what is being said, that he was playing although he was injured. Needless to say, we told him he needed to stop and he knows what he has to do.

“He has been a professional for 10 years and his body knows its limits,” he reasoned.

Tags Ballon d'Or Messi