Pochettino believes his fellow countryman Messi should bag a record seventh Ballon d'Or award.
However, admitting that he deserves to win the individual prize caused a problem in his own dressing room.
Ballon d'Or nominees Neymar and Mbappe both asked the Paris Saint-Germain boss why he didn't pick them to win the award.
Speaking after last weekend's goalless draw at Marseille, he said: "I had a problem saying that Messi should win the Ballon d'Or.
"Neymar and Mbappé told me why not them.
"In any case, it would be great for any player from Paris to win it, but Leo deserves it."
Neymar and Mbappe have yet to get their hands on the Ballon d'Or while Messi has SIX to his name.
And the Argentine forward reckons his esteemed teammates are in the running to win their first Ballon d'Or.
The 34-year-old said: "In my team there are at least two players for whom I'll vote in Kylian [Mbappe] and Neymar.
"Then [Robert] Lewandowski, who has had a great year. But there's also [Karim] Benzema."
Like Messi pointed out, Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema are also in the frame to win the Ballon d'Or this year.
What's more, a leak online appears to suggest the Bayern Munich superstar will beat Messi to win the award.
Featured Image Credit: PA/YouTube
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