With the 2021 Ballon d'Or ceremony set to take place later this month, a shock report has suggested that the winner of the prestigious individual accolade has been leaked.
It has been claimed by RTP Sports that Lionel Messi has already been informed that he has won the next edition of the Ballon d'Or.
The publication has reported that the 34-year-old has even given an interview to France Football, the organisers of the prize, and will officially be handed the Golden Ball on 29 November.
If Messi does win the accolade, the Argentine will extend his record of being the player with the most Ballon d'Or titles, having already been crowned the winner on six occasions.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been handed the trophy five times in his glittering career, with Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten each claiming it thrice.
The last player outside of Ronaldo and Messi to win the Ballon d'Or since 2008 was Luka Modric, who was presented with the prize in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2018.
Here are eight current and former players backing Messi to win this year's Ballon d'Or:
What did Messi win in 2021?
Despite Robert Lewandowski's excellent goalscoring form throughout the year and Jorginho claiming both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA European Championship in 2021, Messi was tipped to be the favourite for the award following his exploits at this year's Copa America.
After winning the Copa del Rey with Barcelona towards the end of last season, the forward made history when he became the first player in international tournament history to lift the trophy, win the best player prize and finish on top of both the scoring and assists charts.