PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

In the press conference held ahead of this evening's ceremony, both Messi and Xavi insisted on the importance of their teammates in their own nominations for the Ballon D'Or. Xavi explained his game: "depends almost completely on my teammates", whilst Messi explained: "by being together we bring out the best in each of us".

This is the fourth year on the run that Xavi has been nominated for the award and he told reporters: "I am very happy to be here again and to have the chance to enjoy this moment and the situation we are in at Barça. I'm enjoying it all like a little kid. I hope that I can continue for quite a bit longer". Asked about his chances of winning the accolade this time around, Xavi just smiled and admitted: "it's very difficult".

Xavi: "Messi will break all the records"

And the reason why it's so tough is clear: "I think that I am up against someone who will become the best player in the history of the game. He's still young, but he's going to break all the records. I learn a lot from him, as well as all the other great players I play alongside at Barça. I have been able to grow as a player thanks to them, and to Leo in particular".

Xavi is also clear as to the keys to his own success: "there are many factors. Being a big fan of the sport helps and loving the Club so much also helps. I have been lucky to be at Barça and enjoy this most recent historical phase we are in". The Catalan also spoke of the "excitement" that the presence of the three Masia graduates would create for the youngsters currently at the Club academy: "the three of us were brought up through the Club and we also now have a manager who is brave enough to bring in new youngsters from La Masia".

Messi praises teammates

Messi admitted it was "nice" to receive all the recognition as an individual, but stressed that the most important was what was won " as a group – without our teammates, Xavi and I wouldn't be here. He and all of my team-mates are vital. They allow me to play the way I do, and we all help each other. We know if we continue like that then between us we will win the prizes. Having these teammates is fundamental".

Finally, Messi thanked all those who have supported him from his home country Argentina: "I don't stop to think about what I've achieved – I just try and enjoy it all. I'm very happy that my country is so proud of me and I am very grateful".

Xavi guarantees that the team will fight till the end for league title

The draw against Espanyol left Barça five points adrift of Real Madrid and although Xavi admitted this was a big margin to make up, he insisted that the team would fight till the end of the campaign: "there's still a lot of league to play. Madrid are strong and it's difficult for anyone to take points off them, but we will fight till the end to try and win our fourth consecutive league title".