Guardiola admits that although Erling Haaland scored many goals as City clinched a treble last season, Messi led Argentina to winning the 2022 World Cup.
He told a press conference on Friday: “I always said that the Ballon d’Or had to be two sections. One for Messi and one for the others.
“Haaland should win yes or yes. We won the treble, he scored a million goals. I’d love Erling to win. But Messi… Leo won the World Cup!”
Messi is widely expected to be named winner of the award for a record-extending eighth time on October 30.
It will take the 36-year-old clear of eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won it five times.