Messi is the greatest ever despite The Best snub, says Samuel Eto'o
Lionel Messi may have been overlooked for the three-man shortlist for FIFA's The Best award ahead of Monday's awards ceremony in London, but former teamate Samuel Eto'o believes the Barcelona superstar's standing as the greatest player ever isn't in doubt.
Messi was included in the FIFPro World XI, but it was Real Madrid's Luka Modric who won the main prize to end the Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo duopoly of the award.
The Croatia midfielder won with 29 percent of the votes, coming in ahead of Ronaldo (19 percent), Mohamed Salah (11.2 percent) and Kylian Mbappe (10 percent).
Messi, who skipped the ceremony, received only nine percent of the votes, but Eto'o doesn't believe the award will overshadow the Argentinian's standing in the world game.
"Leo, for us, will always be the best player in the world ever," Eto'o told journalists, as per AS.
"The people have to choose and they chose those three players, who have done well this year too," he added, "but for people like me and others, it doesn't change the fact that Leo is the best player in the world ever."
Ronaldo and Messi had won every FIFA World Player of the Year award, which was renamed the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010 and The Best in 2016, since 2007 when Kaka was victorious.
Barcelona may have won the Spanish title last season, but Messi's season ended in disappointment with an underwhelming showing at the World Cup in Russia as Argentina were eliminated in the Round of 16.
Their Champions League campaign also ended in the quarter-final stage, with defeat by AS Roma.
However, during a glittering career, Messi has won the UCL on four occasions, La Liga nine times, and has claimed five Ballon d'Ors.
While Egypt and Liverpool forward Salah also missed out on The Best award, Eto'o had praise for the 26-year-old.
"He did very well last season," Eto'o added, as per Goal, "and has been recognized."