By FOX SPORTS staff
The Argentinean star fended off club team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo to sweep his third consecutive FIFA Ballon d'Or earlier this year, after a phenomenal 2012 that saw him smash Gerd Muller's scoring record.
However, Wenger told the Arsenal Magazine that he would have conferred the honour on Iniesta instead.
"For me Messi is certainly the best player I have ever seen in the game, but I believe that this year he has really been rewarded for what he did individually, rather than what he won for his team. For once he has not been in a team that won absolutely everything. He did not win the Champions League, he did not win the Spanish league and he didn't win anything with his country, but individually it's true he had an exceptional year, scoring 91 goals," Wenger noted.
"I believe he has been rewarded for that, but for me I'm more a fan of collective sport, so I feel people like Casillas, Ronaldo - who won the championship - and especially Iniesta deserved it more. He's always number two or three, but he won the European Championship with Spain - he could have deserved it this year."
The Frenchman elaborated on his case by pointing out the importance of collective success to the sport.
"We are a team sport so collective achievements should have an impact. Anyway, I am not a big fan of individual awards in football to start with, but when it happens I think it should be the consequence of a special team achievement as well," Wenger shared.
"If you have been the best player in a team that did something special, then yes, you should win it. That's why my vote would have been for Andres Iniesta."
Despite his appreciation for team accomplishments, Wenger admitted that the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and Iniesta possessed talent that could easily undo the efforts of the rest of the men on the park.
"At the moment Barcelona are 16 points ahead of Real Madrid, Spain have consecutively won the European Championship, World Cup and European Championship - what these players are doing is amazing. The achievements work in their favour," he stated.
"As much as I am a lover of team sport, it's true that once you get up to a certain level, the difference is made by individual players. When Barcelona play Real Madrid, nine times out of ten the difference will be made either by Messi or Ronaldo. When the games get up to that level, it means simply they are the best in the world."
Los Blancos defensive midfielder Xabi Alonso and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon were amongst the initial nominees for the FIFA Ballon d'Or, but the Arsenal boss believed that the prize should always be a reward for attacking genius
"I played in all the positions myself - at the back, in midfield and up front - and I know the most difficult of all is up there! At the back you can get away with average talent, but up front you need something special," Wenger explained.
"I don't deny that a good defender is something exceptionally important in a team. But the guy who can take the ball in the middle of the field and go and score a goal - at the very top level that's where you need special talent."