'He can play until he's 40': Xavi Hernandez praises "incomparable" Messi
What's the story?
Former Barcelona captain Xavi Hernandez has expressed his belief in former teammate Lionel Messi, stating that he can play football until he turns 40.
In case you didn't know...
Xavi shares a close relationship with Messi, having witnessed the Argentine ace's journey to the first team in 2004.
The duo was instrumental in their partnership with Andres Iniesta, pulling strings in the Barcelona midfield and eventually helping the Catalan giants to an array of titles including four Champions League trophies.
Messi has since established himself as arguably the best player in modern football and shows no signs of stopping as he continues his exploits in Barcelona at the age of 31.
Xavi has been a longstanding fan of Messi, and is no stranger to heaping praises on his former teammate, having recently told Corriere dello Sport: "Leo is the best player I have played with. The only one who can make the difference by himself and in every moment."
The heart of the matter
Xavi has once again heaped praise on the five-time Ballon d'Or winner calling him simply "incomparable".
Speaking to Catalunya Radio (via Marca), Xavi said, "Sometimes I think that he can play until he is 38, 39 or 40. He needs very little to be able to do that."
"What do you lose as you get older? Your pace? Well, he won't lose his mental speed. Messi is incomparable."
Xavi also added that Messi would be able to play in any area of the field.
"I think that he would be able to play wherever he wants on the park."
"He already drifts into the centre of the field and is effective there, as he is at defending too because he is very strong mentally."
Despite being injured and missing El Clasico last Sunday, Messi has been reported to have returned to the Barcelona training grounds.
The Catalan giants recently confirmed that the Argentine would be out for three weeks after breaking his arm against Sevilla on October 20.
However, it looks like Messi is set for an early return as reports say he may be available for Barcelona's game against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.