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19 Apr 2019, 17:00 IST

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Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Manchester UnitedBarcelona forward Lionel Messi has proved once again this season that he is the undisputed best player in the world, according to Brazilian great Rivaldo. Messi was voted fifth in the running for last season’s Ballon d’Or, finishing behind Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and winner Luka Modric. The Argentina international has been at his free-scoring best in 2018-19, however, netting 45 times in all competitions and setting up a further 12 goals for his team-mates in LaLiga alone. Rivaldo feels Messi is out in front in terms of being the world’s best player at this moment in time and has backed the 31-year-old to win a sixth Ballon d’Or later this year. Majestic Messi scoops the prize #UCL #POTW @FTBSantander pic.twitter.com/L2qzAL39wg— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 19, 2019“For me, I would give him the Ballon d’Or today for what he’s doing,” Rivaldo told Spanish publication Sport. “Everything that he’s doing is spectacular: the goals, the big games he steps up in. There’s no other player like Messi this season.”  Messi’s latest goals came in Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Manchester United in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg, where he scored twice to send the Spanish champions through 4-0 on aggregate. Philippe Coutinho was also on the scoresheet in midweek with an impressive curled finish past David de Gea, which he followed up with a fingers-in-the-ears celebration. That was seen as a direct response to his critics, having come under fire during his first full campaign at Camp Nou, and Rivaldo says the best way for his compatriot to win over supporters is to continue scoring goals. 

And @Phil_Coutinho receives a hefty applause — and deservedly so! pic.twitter.com/29dLjzjGIz— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 16, 2019″Coutinho’s a player I like a lot and who has to succeed at Barca,” he added. “Coutinho scored a great goal. The [celebration] wasn’t so good. In the moment you score a goal and with the criticism he’s received… it was the heat of the moment.  “If you asked him today, he would be more intelligent. They’re things that happen in football and what’s important is that he scores goals like that because that way the fans are happy with him.” 

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