"Cristiano has the numbers to win this year's Ballon d'Or, having won the Champions League and the Euros," he said at the Aspire4Sports event in Amsterdam.
"But I also think that it'll be very competitive, because Messi will be there, of course."
Xavi also said he sees no reason to panic over Barca's form having suffered a shock 4-3 defeat to Celta Vigo on Sunday.
"I wasn't able to watch the game, but it looks like there were a lot of individual mistakes," he said. "But Barca are on another level and that's something you see most of all when you leave the club.
"The idea is a good one: to be dominant and to have the ball. They also have the best in every position and I'm proud to watch them play.
"With Luis Enrique, they're working very well, but sometimes the result is misleading based on what you see on the pitch."