Xavi: Messi doesn't need World Cup


Much debate has gone around whether Messi can be classified as one of the best footballers in history despite his failure to guide his national team to World Cup victory.

However, Xavi believes the individual quality the diminutive Argentine continuously shows is enough to label him "the best player in history", and likens him to former greats Alfredo di Stefano and Johan Cruyff, who also failed to win the top international title.

"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," the retired Spanish international 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."

The 36-year-old, who currently plays for Qatari club Al Sadd SC, has also shared some insight into Messi's game as seen from the training ground.

"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.

"His centre of gravity is incredibly low. He is the perfect prototype of a footballer. He is thin and has unbeatable legs. He is a force of nature, even if he is only 1.70 metres.

"He is at the peak of his game. I felt at my best between 28 and 32. Leo is taking care of himself, more than ever before. He is spectacular."

Messi currently has 37 goals in 37 games in all competitions for Barca this season.