The coach has stressed that everybody has the right to their own opinion on who the best player of 2014 is and insisted he thinks that person is his Argentine forward
The European champions launched a scathing criticism of Uefa president Michel Platini on Friday after the Frenchman – who thrice won the accolade during his playing days – suggested that Germany’s World Cup success merited one of their players being bestowed with the Ballon d’Or.
However, the Camp Nou boss believes it is melodramatic to complain that everybody is not rooting for Cristiano Ronaldo as the worthy winner and – unsurprisingly, as Barca coach – says Messi has his vote of confidence.
“I don’t want to exacerbate things with Real Madrid after what Platini said, but everyone is allowed their own opinion,” Luis Enrique told reporters at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s visit to Valencia.
“This prize is for the best player of the season and that is Messi, so I would give the Ballon d’Or to Leo.”
It was confirmed this week that Barca’s summer signing Thomas Vermaelen – who is yet to make his debut for the club – will be out for up to six months due to needing an operation on an injury, and Luis Enrique played down the peculiarity of the situation.
“Inside professional football, injuries are common and sometimes they require surgery, this is the case of Thomas,” he added.
“We think is the best solution for him, he’s doing very well, we need to support him and he’ll be back with us soon. There’s no intention to find a substitute in the winter market.”
Another summer signing who has not had a fruitful first six months at Barca is German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who has largely been kept out of the first team in La Liga by excellent performances from fellow new arrival Claudio Bravo.
However, Luis Enrique hinted that rotation between Ter Stegen, Bravo and third-choice Jordi Masip is the future for the remainder of 2014-15 due to his belief in all three options between the sticks.
“We could see Ter Stegen playing La Liga and Bravo the Champions League, or Jordi in La Liga – we can see any of them in any competition,” the coach continued.
“From the beginning of the season I talked about my confidence in the three goalkeepers. We could use another goalkeeper in the third phase of the Champions League.”
Barca’s clash at Mestalla on Sunday kicks off at 21:00CET.