In an interview with Goal (via Marca), Puyol said that Messi's stature in football is similar to how Michael Jordan is viewed in basketball. He said:
"If you ask me who Michael Jordan is, I always say that he's the best basketball player in history. I think the same about Messi, he has that same status. He's the best footballer in history."
"I understand that it's difficult for a Real Madrid fan to admit that he's the best, my opinion is just like any other. But his goals are there, and that's objective data."
Puyol brushed aside concerns that Lionel Messi hasn't won trophies with Argentina, saying that he is confident that the 33-year-old is still good enough to lead both Barcelona and Argentina to trophies. He asserted:
"I'm confident that a Barcelona led by Leo will continue to win titles. He can still do something with the national team too. Even though I'm not Argentine, I'd be very happy if he did. I think he deserves it, and I know he's looking to do it."
Carles Puyol says no one can match Lionel Messi's achievements at Barcelona
Carles Puyol also said that he could not imagine anyone else breaking the records that Lionel Messi has set in his Barcelona career. He continued:
"He has already broken all of the records at Barcelona. I don't know if anyone can compete with him in the future. He's set the bar very high."
Messi was set to leave Barcelona in the summer of 2020 but decided to stay because he didn't want to get embroiled in a legal battle with the club.
There is still uncertainty over Messi's future at Barcelona beyond the 2020-21 season, with persistent rumours claiming that the Argentine superstar could be on his way to Manchester City.
Lionel Messi recently broke Pele's long-standing record for most number of goals scored for a single club, when he scored his 644th goal for the Blaugrana.
Puyol and Messi won three UEFA Champions League titles together in their time at Barcelona - in 2006, 2009 and 2011.Published 24 Dec 2020, 15:22 IST