Messi will never be equalled, not even by Ronaldo, feels Barcelona legend Xavi
Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez has claimed that Lionel Messi will remained unmatched in football history, saying Cristiano Ronaldo does not even merit comparison. Moving on from his shocking statements, the Spanish midfielder also exhorted Barcelona to keep Messi content, and take the spotlight away from his tax fraud conviction.
In a lengthy interview with Spanish publication Sport, Xavi pulled no punches when it came to his admiration for Messi, saying “For me, there is no heir to Messi. There will never be one. There will be very good footballers, but nobody at Messi's level. To be at the top for so many years, winning so many individual and team trophies, will be impossible to surmount.”
Messi’s star has faded ever since he announced his retirement from the Argentina national side following their Copa America heartbreak, which was in stark contrast to Cristiano Ronaldo finally breaking his international trophy duck with Portugal winning Euro 2016.
However, Xavi does not consider that to be a factor, arguing for Messi’s superiority, saying “In the future, everything will be more equal amongst the best players. Though now they try to sell the story of the battle between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, those of us who know football, know there is no comparison.”
“When Messi ends his career, there will be Neymar, Eden Hazard and five or 10 players at a similar level, but none with the unquestionable superiority of Messi.”
Messi will be unaffected by tax fraud conviction
Xavi also went on to say that despite Messi’s conviction for tax fraud, the Argentine remains happy at Barcelona, saying “He is still the best in the world, making the difference and putting it in the top corner. He is happy in Barcelona, I'm not saying he's not bothered by some off the field issues, but on the pitch he is still the same player.”
Indeed after initial reports that Messi was unhappy with Barcelona for all of his tax issues, fresh reports in the Spanish press emerged that Messi was close to signing a new contract, with his father reportedly agreeing a new deal.
Xavi underlined the need for Barcelona to keep Messi happy, saying “It is great to have Messi, and he needs to be kept happy and content. Above all, all these issues need to be resolved as soon as possible, so he can start from a clean slate. But really, it doesn't affect him. If there is someone mentally strong, that person is Messi. He has overcome it all.”