Lionel Messi has claimed that Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Luis Suarez could all challenge him and Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2018 Ballon d’Or award.
The prize has been traded between the Barcelona forward and his Real Madrid rival over the last 10 years, with each picking up the trophy on five occasions.
Nobody has been able to split the Ronaldo and Messi stronghold for second place since 2010 either, when Spanish midfielders Andres Iniesta and Xavi finished second and third to their Argentinian team-mate respectively.
Despite their dominance in recent years, Messi has revealed that the pair face a number of threats this time around with the aforementioned trio firmly in contention.
‘There are many great players around today who can win the Ballon d’Or,’ Messi told WorldSoccer Magazine.
‘In recent years there have just been two, but now players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Luis Suarez can compete.’
Neymar has come closest to edging Messi and Ronaldo in recent memory with the Brazilian finishing third in both 2015 and 2017.
The world’s most expensive player is flourishing for Paris Saint-Germain and has scored 28 goals in 27 appearances since his summer move from Barcelona.
Neither Mbappe or Suarez have made it into the top three before but both are worthy contenders. The Frenchman has combined well with Neymar and Edinson Cavani in the French capital, notching 15 times in 31 games, while Suarez has 19 in 33 for Barcelona so far this campaign.