Wednesday 18 September 2019, 08:00

Messi, in the words of others

  • Messi is striving with Cristiano and Van Dijk for The Best FIFA Men’s Player

  • Xavi, Ronaldinho and Federer salute the Argentinian

  • He is compared to another sporting immortal

“I think he’s the best player who’s ever donned a pair of football boots. I’m still bewildered by so many of the things he does. It’s almost like he watches the game of football from above while playing it at the same time, and that is staggering. People look at goalscoring records and, yes, he scores about a goal per game. But he’s also the best dribbler I’ve ever seen, the most imaginative footballer I’ve ever seen, one of the best passers the game’s ever seen. If you put all those things together you have someone who, frankly, is not a human being.” Gary Lineker

“Messi is the greatest in history, without doubt. Nobody has done what Messi has done. When he retires, nobody will be worthy of using the No10 shirt.” Ronaldinho

“Ronaldo’s an extraordinary footballer, but Messi is a genius. There are three geniuses in football: Pele, Maradona and Messi. The end. Messi is something else. He invents things that others don’t see. Ronaldo has made himself a champion, but not a genius.” Fabio Capello

“For me he is the number one, like LeBron James in basketball. LeBron is the image of basketball, of the NBA. Messi is the image of football because he has something different to everyone else that you will only see every 30 or more years.” Antoine Griezmann

"Two GOATs, you say? No way. There is only one GOAT: him, Lionel Messi.” Eden Hazard on whether Messi and Ronaldo are the joint-greatest players in history

“He’s always so difficult to play against. No matter how much homework you do on him, you can never understand the quality he possesses and the difference he can make. You think he’s going to do one thing, but then he pulls something else out of his hat. I didn’t see Pele, Zico or Maradona, but Messi’s the best player I’ve ever seen.” Thiago Silva

“Messi’s unstoppable. He has a natural talent that’s only given to the chosen ones. Maybe in 20 or 30 years there will be another one. He’s better than you with his right foot, left foot and his head. He’s better at defending and attacking. He’s faster. Better at dribbling, better at passing. We haven’t put him in goal yet, but watch out if he tries that too.” Xavi

“I love watching him play. What I love probably most is when he gets the ball and is able to turn his body towards goal. Then he’s going to pass, dribble or shoot. There’s always three options for him – he’s one of the few who’s got that. I think Messi is the best player in the history of football.” Roger Federer

“There’s no-one who can stop Messi – he is the best player of all time. He’s has been repeating it for ten years. Many compare him to Maradona or Cruyff, but it seems obvious to me that Messi is the best in history.” Aleksandr Mostovoi

“He’s an extraordinary [player] – one that is far above the rest." Paul Pogba

“Messi has been at the top for 15 years. People can say that he hasn't moved from Barcelona. Yes, but his team-mates have changed, and he's still there. Messi is the best of all time.” Alvaro Recoba

“As soon as I saw him I told people that one day it would seem like every player who existed before Messi had been playing a different sport.” Samuel Eto’o