Barcelona legend Ronaldinho has admitted that it would be difficult for him to say that Lionel Messi is the best footballer of all time.
Ronaldinho played alongside a young Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and the pair enjoy a good relationship.
In an interview with Marca as reported by SportBible, Ronaldinho stated that he did not like to compare Lionel Messi to other greats.
"I'm glad Messi won the Ballon d'Or. We were also friends during our time at Barcelona. But I don't like to compare, and I find it difficult to say he is the best of all time."
"There was [Diego] Maradona, Pele, Ronaldo... it's hard to say that Messi is the best throughout the history of football. I can only say he is the best of his era."
Lionel Messi's contract situation a source of worry for Barcelona
Lionel Messi is regarded as one of the greatest footballers to have played the game, and Barcelona's greatest-ever player.
However, the Argentina international's Barcelona stint could soon be coming to an end. His contract expires in the summer, and Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have been heavily linked to him.
Lionel Messi admitted last summer that he wanted to leave Barcelona, but a move failed to materialise. As a result, he continues to captain the club.
The 33-year old has made 768 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona, scoring 663 goals. New club president Joan Laporta has vowed to do everything possible to keep Lionel Messi.
Given Barcelona's precarious financial situation it is unclear how much they can offer Lionel Messi. It is unlikely that the club will spend big this summer but they have been linked with players like Lyon's Memphis Depay, Bayern Munich's David Alaba and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum- all of whose contracts expire in the summer.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are readying their offers for Lionel Messi.