Xavi: Messi Trumps Maradona & CR7
02 November 2010
Lionel Messi may be the best player in the world, but he is still humble.
Although he shines brightly on the glittering 23-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, Messi has downplayed his chances of scooping the coveted award. He believes that the World Cup will feature strongly in the decision making process, and so suggests that a world champion Spaniard should claim the prize.
One player who is sold on Messi's greatness however, is his Barcelona team-mate and fellow Ballon d'Or nominee, Xavi Hernandez.
Xavi, who from an enviously up close and personal position has been mesmerised by Messi's magic, believes that the little Argentine is now "indisputably" the world's best player, and even trumps Diego Maradona.
"I'll repeat what I've been telling everybody: I hope that a Spanish player wins it and if not, I hope it goes to my friend Leo Messi," Xavi told Fifa about his chances of winning the Ballon d'Or.
"He's indisputably the best player in the world, and he's going to win the Ballon d'Or several more times. But in World Cup years the tournament is a big factor, and Andres (Iniesta) and I won it, while La Albiceleste didn't hit the heights expected of them.
"A player like [Messi] only comes around once every 50 years. The only reason the rest of us have any chance of winning this year is because the World Cup didn't turn out too well for Argentina, because if it had, then it (the Ballon d'Or) would be no contest.
"In my view, Leo is now even better than Maradona was. He's going to be at the very top for many years to come, there's nobody like him.
"He loves taking responsibility, he never hides away. And I've known him since he was a kid, I've watched him develop and I can say that he's tremendously professional and has good people around him. He's got all the ingredients for success."
And according to Xavi, only Cristiano Ronaldo comes close to Messi, but not close enough.
"Cristiano is an incredible player. That's something you realise when you come up against him and see his speed, strength and his shooting," said Xavi.
"At the moment he and Messi are on another planet, a notch above everybody else, and Leo's a step above the Portuguese. Messi is undeniably the best player in the world."