Rakitic is international colleagues with Modric for Croatia and plays alongside Messi for Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona.

Lionel Messi stats

Modric who won the 2018 UEFA Player of the Year award is favourite to land the FIFA award after the final three-man shortlist was announced.

Rakitic who plays with both stars for club and country decided to go for his national team captain when asked who deserves the accolade.

The 31-year-old explained in a report by the that Messi is the best player in the world but the award is judged based on performance in a single year which for him Modric outshines his Barcelona colleague.

He said, “For me, in general, the best player of the world and maybe the greatest of all time is Leo Messi. It's easy, you take a boy, and nine of 10 boys are going to say the same.”

Rakitic also hinted that even Messi will agree that Modric deserves the all the accolades he is getting.

He said, “But I think it was the year of Luka, sincerely, I think it's something that Leo and all the people know, he [Modric] deserves all the awards.”

Luka Modric

Rakitic says his opinion is not to help Modric gain popular attention as his performances over the course of the year has seen he stands head above shoulders of anyone after a wonderful world cup performance.

He concluded, “Sincerely if he received the award of the best European player... I don't know what he has to do to be the best player in the world, with all he did.

“I don't need to help him as a good friend of his as I am, he made everything on himself, nobody gave him anything. For me, it's clear that it has to be Luka [for The Best award].”

Rakitic is on international duty and is expected to return to Barcelona to join Messi for their next La Liga clash against Real Sociedad on Saturday, September 15.