Barcelona boss Luis Enrique admitted he feels for Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan missed out on joining teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar as one of the three finalists for the 2015 Ballon d’Or.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo will join Messi and Neymar on the podium in Zurich on January 11 to crown the world’s best player, with Messi the hot favourite to land his fifth Ballon d’Or.
However, many in Barcelona believe Suarez’s contribution to Barca’s treble winning campaign last season ought to have been recognised ahead of Ronaldo despite his goalscoring feats for Madrid.
“As a coach I always want all my players to be on all the awards lists, but you have to understand that there are other players from other teams of a very good level,” Enrique said on Tuesday ahead of Barca’s Copa del Rey tie against third-tier Villanovense.
Enrique also insisted that Messi should walk away with another prize in Zurich after being nominated for the best goal of the year for his sensational solo effort in the final of the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao.
Messi’s strike is up against Alessandro Florenzi’s incredible long-range effort against Barcelona for Roma back in September and Brazilian Wendell Lira, but Enrique believes the setting of Messi’s goal in a Cup final gives it added value.
“It is more difficult to beat four or five players in a Cup final. The other one is in a Champions League group game and obviously has its merit. Florenzi is a player with a spectacular shot, but for me Messi’s has more merit.”
Messi and Neymar were also winners at La Liga’s awards for the 2014/15 season on Monday night and also made the case for Suarez to have been included in the final three for the Ballon d’Or.
“I am happy to be among the top three, to be going to another gala and be there with Ney,” said Messi, who is a finalist for a ninth consecutive year.
“I would have liked for Luis to be there too because he deserved it for the year he had, but we can’t also take away credit from Cristiano and he deserves it too.”
In contrast to Messi and Ronaldo, Neymar is nominated among the top three for the first time.
“It is one of the happiest days of my life,” said the Brazilian star.
“Suarez is missing. I was hoping that he would be there too.”