Recent displays see Messi make a late surge for the Ballon d'Or

Despite being hampered by injury at the start of the season, the Argentine has delivered stunning displays in recent games against Sevilla, Eibar, Slavia and Valladolid.

Leo Messi controla el balón durante el partido de Liga Santander entre el F.C. Barcelona y el Real Valladolid en el Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi delivered a scintillating performance for his Barcelona side against Valladolid at Camp Nou on Tuesday with the Argentine bagging a brace and providing two assists as part of the 5-1 win, a "Cirque du Soleil" type performance on the pitch. Recent games have seen the best from the Rosario born player after missing the bulk of the start of the 2019-20 season through injury.

Messi is a legitimate candidate for the 2019 Ballon d'Or award which is set to be presented in Paris in December, with the only blemishes on his season being the Champions League exit in Anfield coupled with the Copa del Rey final defeat to Valencia. Messi shone in the LaLiga title win for the Catalan side bagging 36 goals in the process and securing his sixth Golden Shoe award. In the Champions League campaign the Argentine was nominated as match-day MVP on six occasions despite the overall end of season UEFA award going to Liverpool's Van Dijk. The Dutch international and Juve' striker Cristiano Ronaldo are poised to be major rivals in Messi's quest to secure a sixth France Football Ballon d'Or.

La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona v Real ValladolidBarcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their third goal REUTERS/Albert Gea

Messi, form player

Of the three, Messi is the current in-form player with the Argentine rediscovering his goal scoring touch along with providing numerous assists for his team-mates. Chilean international Arturo Vidal stated at the conclusion of the Valladolid game that: "Messi is from a different planet" with Valladolid's Míchel claiming that one "can only stand back and applaud Messi".

The winners of the Men's Ballon d'Or, Women's Ballon d'Or, Kopa Trophy and Yachine Trophy will all be announced at the 2019 Ballon d'Or gala, to be held at the Théatre du Châtelet in Paris on 2 December.