The Gunners boss was full of praise for the Argentine who will ink a new deal with the Catalan club later this week, tying him up until 2018.
However, Wenger felt Messi shouldn’t have won the top individual player award for 2012 after failing to win either La Liga or the UEFA Champions League.
“No, not this year,” Wenger told the club’s website.
“Messi is from a different planet. He’s certainly the best player in the world, the best I’ve ever seen, 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.
“I believe he has been rewarded for that, but for me I’m more a fan of collective sport, so I feel people like Iker Casillas, Cristiano Ronaldo – who won the Spanish championship – and especially Andres Iniesta deserved it more. Iniesta is always number two or three, but he won the European Championship with Spain last year and he could have deserved it this year.
“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. 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 Iniesta.”