What's the story?
Former Barcelona defender, Carles Puyol, has hailed Lionel Messi's progress over the years, stating that the Argentine talisman has evolved from being an introverted player to a worthy leader of the current Blaugrana team.
The three-time Champions League winner added that the Barcelona captain is the best player the game has ever seen.
In case you didn't know...
Messi is potentially looking at a record sixth Ballon d'Or after a spectacular season that has seen him score a baffling 45 goals in 42 games in all competitions for Barcelona. He has also registered 21 assists so far this campaign.
The 31-year-old has led the Catalan giants to the top of LaLiga, where they sit nine points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid. The club are also favourites to win the Champions League after they progressed to the semi-finals of the competition following their quarterfinal victory over Manchester United.
The heart of the matter
Speaking of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, Puyol told Goal,
"He is playing at an incredible level. For me, he is the best ever player in the history of the game"
"He has shown that season after season and you can see how his game has evolved, all the things he now does. And you can see he's improving every year with new attributes he has brought to his game."
"He has improved in every way and he is taking a step forward on a personal level. He has always been a leader on the field but now, you can see that he is a leader on and off the pitch. He is an introverted person but now you can see that he is leading from the front as the captain of Barcelona."
The former Blaugrana defender also named his former side as favourites to lift the Champions League this season saying,
"It's been very good in the Champions League and also in all the other competitions. They're playing really good football and they have the chance of winning everything. Right now it's great because the best is yet to come this season. Barcelona are one of the favourites for the Champions League because there are only four teams left."
"It is going to be a really tough semi-final against Liverpool because they having a great season but fans will want to see these kinds of games, that's what the Champions League is all about."
Barcelona is next scheduled to face Real Sociedad in LaLiga this weekend.Published 20 Apr 2019, 16:27 IST