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Luis Enrique: Modrić and Rakitić Deserve Awards, but Messi is the Best

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The Spain coach says no one is close to the Argentine star

International Champions Cup 2017 - Real Madrid v FC Barcelona Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Luis Enrique has weighed in on the subject of individual awards ahead of Spain’s clash with Croatia. The former Barcelona boss, who just managed his first game as Spain coach, was asked if Luka Modrić should receive prizes such as FIFA’s “The Best” award or France Football’s Ballon d’Or award, and whether the Croat was the best player in the world.

“If I speak about Croatia, I have to speak about Modrić and [Ivan] Rakitić, above all,” Luis Enrique said. “Because either one of the two could receive any award. But if you have to give an award to the best in the world, I would give it to Leo Messi. Without a doubt. He’s a step ahead of every other player.”

Modrić won UEFA’s Best Player of the Year award recently, with Messi not making the top three finalists. Despite another great season, Messi is considered an underdog in the “The Best” awards and the Ballon d’Or.

Luis Enrique coached Barcelona for three seasons, winning La Liga twice, as well as the UEFA Champions League. He’s one of only two Barça coaches to have won the treble; the other is Pep Guardiola.

He is also a former Barcelona B coach and former captain of the first team in his playing days.