Messi still great without World Cup glory, Xavi claims
Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes Lionel Messi is the best player the world will ever see and he is adamant the Argentina international does not need to win a World Cup in order to be considered the greatest of all time.
Five-time Ballon d’OR winner Messi has swept up several honours throughout his stellar career to date, though he hasn’t yet managed to get his hands on the World Cup with Argentina.
Some argue Messi will not be able to surpass greats Pele and Maradona, who both lifted World Cups during their careers, until he manages to win football’s greatest prize at least once.
However Xavi, who played alongside Messi at Camp Nou between 2004 and 2015, believes his former team-mate is a true force of nature and is already the best player that has ever lived.
“Leo is undoubtedly the best player I have ever played with. He is the best player I have ever seen and the best we will ever see,” Xavi told La Vanguardia.
“He is the best player in history. He does not need to win the World Cup to be the best. Alfredo Di Stefano and Johan Cruyff did not win the World Cup either.
“Messi does what he wants. It’s one big show. He does everything right. There are two types of speed in football. There is the physical aspect, where Leo is on another level, although Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar also have it.
“And then there is the mental aspect, speed of thoughts. Messi is second to none here. He is always one step ahead of you.
“You see him on the training pitch and you realise how great he is. He never loses the ball. He provides assists, changes the pace of the game, can score with his head, with his right foot, draw fouls. You can try whatever you want to stop him, but when you try to win the ball off him, you’re gone.”
• Culled from Goal.com