Messi Names Trio Who Can Challenge for Ballon d'Or When Legendary Duopoly Ends

The Ballon d'Or won't only come down to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi forever.
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Lionel Messi has admitted that future Ballon d'Or contests won't be decided between two superstar footballers like they have been between himself and rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Barcelona megastar penned a new four-and-a-half year deal with the Catalan giants on Saturday to end speculation over his future, but before doing so scooped up his fourth European Golden Shoe award on Friday.

In an interview conducted with Marca after the lavish bash in Spain, Messi was quizzed over who he felt would go on to dominate at the prestigious awards event in the coming seasons.

However, the 30-year-old forward claimed that the gong would be shared around in the near future with a number of stars across Europe's top five leagues who are capable of winning it.

He said: "There are many great players around today who can win the Ballon d'Or. In recent years there have just been two, but now players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Luis Suarez can compete for that award."

Messi was also questioned on his relationship with his Real Madrid rival Ronaldo, and in particular whether the pair could ever be friendly outside of football once they both retire.

The Argentina international stated that the duo didn't talk outside of lavish ceremonies such as the Ballon d'Or, though, and failed to state if such a scenario could ever occur.

He said: "I don't know if we will be friends (once we both retire). Friendship is built through spending time together and getting to know each other.

"We have no relationship, mainly because we only see each other at awards ceremonies and that's the only time we speak. Everything is fine, but our lives don't cross over very often."