Messi is currently out with a hamstring injury.
"Injuries are never welcome but if we consider things in terms of the World Cup, this one probably has been," said Valdano.
"He needed rest and wasn't going to get the chance in the run up to the World Cup," adding that the "break will help him reach the World Cup in tip top condition."
"Messi might lose the Ballon d'Or, but he hasn't been in action since the end of last season. Ronaldo will take full advantage of the fact; he's a competitive guy, a perfectionist and very ambitious. It's great that Messi has been put to the test. Between the two of them, they have taken competitive rivalry to new heights," he said.
"If I had to cast my vote based on this season, I'd vote for Ronaldo because Messi has been out of it. Ribéry is more run-of-the-mill."
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