With the end of the calendar year approaching, conversations over who will win the 2016 Ballon d’Or has already started and, as predicted, two names dominate the discussion.

Five-time winner and current holder Lionel Messi is the favourite to retain the accolade but has perennial rival Cristiano Ronaldo for company.

The Portugal international played a role in his country winning Euro 2016 over the summer, with this achievement on the international scene something that the Barcelona star lacks in his career.

Despite this, Messi’s performances for the Catalan giants should be more than enough proof that the Argentina deserves to win the crown.

The South American’s performances in the Champions League, the elite competition in European club football, have been nothing short of astounding.

Messi leads the scoring charts with seven strikes in three games, including hat-tricks against both Manchester City and Celtic.

This incredibly translates to a goal every 39 minutes so far in the Champions League this season, reaffirming his position as the best player on the planet.

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