Xavi, who finished third for the prize from 2009-11, feels Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar will win the Ballon d’Or immediately after Barcelona super star Messi and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo slow down.
“I have tremendous respect for Neymar, he’s an amazing footballer,” he told RMC on Wednesday.
“When Messi or Ronaldo will be in a bad shape, and we’ll see more at Cristiano because of his age , Neymar will be the next Ballon d’Or winner. I’m sure of that.”
The past 10 Ballons d’Or have been won by Messi and Ronaldo, with Kaka in 2007 the last player outside that duo to win the coveted individual honour.