Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o released a statement describing his former FC Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi as the greatest player of all-time.
Messi, who was absent at the ceremony, was not in the top three for FIFA’s Best Men’s Player award but made the FIFPro World XI.
Luka Modric, of Real Madrid and Croatia, won the flagship accolade ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah, who won the Puskas Award for best goal.
“Leo, for us, will always be the best player in the world ever,” Eto’o said.
“The human beings have to choose and they chose those three players, who have done well this year too.
“But for people like me and others, it doesn’t change the fact that Leo is the best player in the world ever.”
The Cameroonian and the Argentine played alongside at Camp Nou between 2004 and 2009.
Messi has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or five times when it was awarded as a combined honour with the FIFA’s Best Men’s Player.
The Argentina captain boasts of nine La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.
Eto’o currently plies his trade at Qatar SC, his 13th professional so far at age 37.