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Spain boss Julen Lopetegui voted for Lionel Messi for FIFA The Best award

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui says he has voted for Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi to win The Best FIFA Men's Player of 2016.

Lopetegui selected Messi, 29, ahead of Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos for the new aware.

The 50-year-old told Cadena Cope: "I've never met a player like Leo Messi. I don't like to compare eras. I've never seen and nor do I think I will ever see someone with Messi's consistency."

The FIFA award for best player and coach will be taken by a combined voting process in which 50 percent will be decided by the choices made by captains and coaches of all national teams around the world and the remainder will be split between a public ballot and a group of media representatives.

Despite taking part in the voting, though, Lopetegui said he did not like awards for players and coaches.

"I don't like individual awards because this is a team sport and the coaches try to promote the collective," he said.

Messi scored 26 goals and set up 16 more in 33 league appearances to help Barca retain the Spanish league title last season.

A five-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi also contributed five goals and six assists in five starts as Barca won a second straight Copa del Rey in the 2015-16 campaign.

Ronaldo, 31, is considered favourite to lift the award in the ceremony in Zurich on Jan. 9, 2017.

A four-time Ballon d'Or winner, Ronaldo converted the decisive spot-kick in a penalty shootout against Atletico Madrid as Real Madrid won the Champions League last season and then captained Portugal as they won Euro 2016 in France.

The 31-year-old Ronaldo scored 51 goals in 48 games last season for his club.

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, who is in his third campaign at the helm of the Catalan giants, got Lopetegui's vote for best coach of the year ahead of Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane and Atletico's Diego Simeone, respectively.

Luis Enrique has steered Barca to eight titles, including two La Liga titles and one Champions League trophy, since his arrival to the Camp Nou in the summer of 2014.