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Lionel Messi snubbed Jude Bellingham when predicting the four players who would challenge for 2024 Ballon d'Or

Bellingham is among the favourites for the award.

Lionel Messi snubbed Jude Bellingham when asked to predict who could challenge for the 2024 Ballon d'Or.

Messi claimed the award for a record-extending eighth time last year after leading Argentina to victory at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Messi and his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the Ballon d'Or over the last 15 years, with the Portuguese winning it on five occasions.

But with Ronaldo now playing in the Saudi Pro League with Al Nassr and Messi plying his trade in the MLS with Inter Miami, it is widely expected the award will go to another name this year.

England star Jude Bellingham is among the favourites to claim the prize, having enjoyed an excellent debut season with Real Madrid.

He scored 23 goals in 42 appearances to help the Spanish giants win both the Champions League and La Liga.

His club teammates Vinicius Jr and Toni Kroos are also among the favourites for the Ballon d'Or, along with Kylian Mbappe – who will move to Real from PSG on a free transfer this summer.

Bellingham could strengthen his claim for the award if England win the Euros, with the Three Lions facing Netherlands in their semi-final on Wednesday.

But a win for Bellingham could come as a surprise to former Barcelona star Messi.

Speaking after winning the Ballon d'Or last year, Messi snubbed the former Borussia Dortmund star when naming his predictions for the 2024 award.

"[Erling] Haaland, [Kylian] Mbappe, Vinicius and many young players can compete for Ballon d'Or in the next years," said Messi.

"I also think that Lamine Yamal, who is still very young and plays for Barcelona, ​​will play a prominent role and fight for it in the future too."

Bellingham is among the favourites for the Ballon d'Or (Image: Getty)
Bellingham is among the favourites for the Ballon d'Or (Image: Getty)

Bellingham has himself tipped Vinicius to win the Ballon d'Or when it is awarded at a ceremony in Paris on October 28.

"I'm not really too fussed about it," he said in May.

"I always thought the Ballon d'Or and those sorts of things were for the strikers, the wingers and the flashy players.

"I know I can entertain the crowd, but no-one can do it like Vini. When he's at his best, I think he's the best player in the world. I know he likes to say the same about me, and that's the kind of relationship we have.

"You don't always have to be friends with your team-mates, but it helps when you can be so close off the pitch as well. And then, on the pitch, it reflects. We have a good understanding of each other's movements.

"To be honest, if he was to win it, I'd feel just as proud as if I won it, because I know I've helped contribute to the success."

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