However, Aguero tweeted:
"I don't enjoy having to clarify my statements—but when I'm quoted for things I haven't said, it must be done. I'll spell it out then. No one other than Messi will be my pick for the Ballon d'Or as long as he keeps on playing—particularly if he plays like he did this season."
Sergio Kun Aguero @aguerosergiokun
I don't enjoy having to clarify my statements – but when I'm quoted for things I haven't said, it must be done. I'll spell it out then. No one other than Messi will be my pick for the Balon d'Or as long as he keeps on playing – particularly if he plays like he did this season.
Since 2014, the winner of the Ballon d'Or played in the team that won the Champions League that year.
Cristiano Ronaldo won in 2014, 2016 and 2017 after Real Madrid's victories, Messi took it in 2015 after Barca beat Juventus, while Luka Modric won in 2018 following Los Blancos' win against Liverpool.
Messi was, remarkably, well off the pace in last year's voting, as sports writer Ryan Taylor observed:
The Argentinian has been in sensational form in 2019 and helped the Blaugrana win La Liga, and they're in the final of the Copa del Rey, too.
Perhaps the only player from Liverpool or Tottenham who has been good enough to rival Messi for the award this year is Virgil van Dijk.
A defender hasn't won the Ballon d'Or since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, but Van Dijk didn't let a similar issue stop him being named the PFA's Player of the Year last month, per football journalist Richard Buxton:
Given the recent link between winning the Ballon d'Or and the Champions League, Barcelona's failure in Europe will likely hinder Messi's chances, even if he has been head and shoulders above his peers once again.
The Copa America and the UEFA Nations League finals are still to come at the end of the season, though. Messi will take part in the former, while the likes of Van Dijk and Ronaldo will play in the latter.
Although team silverware shouldn't necessarily matter too much when it comes to an individual award, the outcomes of those tournaments might also have an impact on the voting this year.