Lionel Messi's performances with Barcelona have established his place among football's all-time greats. We have gotten so used to him bend the ball at his will day in and day out, that most of the superlatives used to describe him fail to do sufficient justice to his brilliance.
Messi has been at the pinnacle of world football for more than a decade and a half, and thanks to his sheer genius and consistency, he has broken so many records alongside long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Pep Guardiola once said - "Don't write about him [Messi], don't try to describe him. Just watch him."
So without wasting any further time in trying to describe Messi's brilliance in our words, let's take a look at some of the best compliments received by the Argentine over the years from some of the very best in the business.
Top 10 quotes about Lionel Messi
Here, we present to you a compilation of some of the greatest plaudits received by the six-time Ballon d'Or winner to date.
#10 Oliver Holt
Journalists who have been following Messi for years have seen his evolution from a winger in his early days to one of the best false 9s in the game and now to a goal-scoring midfielder know that he can really do it all.
Oliver Holt, Chief Sports Writer at DailyMail, did not hold back when describing the Barcelona talisman. He hailed him as an unmatched individual in the history of the game and a better individual player than Cristiano Ronaldo.
"Messi established himself as the nonpareil long ago. Messi versus Ronaldo is beauty versus power. It is modesty versus arrogance. It is selflessness versus selfishness. It is curves versus straight lines. It is the joy of the assist versus the obsession with the finish."
"The truth is that if you prefer Ronaldo over Messi, you're missing something in your life."
#9 Roger Federer
In sports, athletes tend to have huge respect for one another. And when it comes to established athletes like Lionel Messi, some of them are straight-up admirers of the 33-year-old.
Roger Federer, who holds the all-time record for the most Grand Slam men's singles titles with Rafael Nadal, is often called the Lionel Messi of tennis due to his class and consistency. The tennis icon thinks that the diminutive forward is the best footballer of all time.
“I love watching him play. What I love probably most is when he gets the ball and is able to turn his body towards goal. Then he’s going to pass, dribble or shoot. There’s always three options for him – he’s one of the few who’s got that. I think Messi is the best player in the history of football.”
#8 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the most outspoken football players, and has been known to make ridiculous comments every now and then. Well, there is no player other than himself that the 39-year-old striker loves to talk about, but even Zlatan had high praise for Lionel Messi.
“Messi does not need his right foot. He only uses the left and he’s still the best in the world. Imagine if he also used his right foot, then we would have serious problems.”
#7 Arsene Wenger
Lionel Messi is one of the players who leaves his mark wherever he goes, and once you've played against him, you do not forget.
Arsene Wenger has gone up against Messi's Barcelona quite a few times in recent years, albeit unsuccessfully, and the six-time European Golden Boot winner was usually the architect of the Catalans' wins.
Wenger coached some of the best players in the world in his capacity as Arsenal manager, but he still thinks Messi to be the greatest of all time and believes that the way the Barcelona talisman plays football is an art in itself.
"The best player I have ever seen. You always expect something special, and I must say he never disappoints you!"
"He's not an athlete he's an artist!"
There are only a handful of football players who've won it all with club and country, Barcelona legend Xavi is one of the first names that comes to mind. The midfielder, himself a La Masia graduate, witnessed Lionel Messi's rise to the top of the world and even had a long-lasting impact on the forward's career.
Having shared the dressing room with Lionel Messi for over 10 years, Xavi knows a lot about the Argentine and his style of play, and believes that he is without a doubt the greatest player of all time.
“Messi’s unstoppable. He has a natural talent that’s only given to the chosen ones. Maybe in 20 or 30 years there will be another one. He’s better than you with his right foot, left foot and his head. He’s better at defending and attacking. He’s faster. Better at dribbling, better at passing. We haven’t put him in goal yet, but watch out if he tries that too.”
Also Read: Top 10 quotes on Cristiano Ronaldo
#5 Gary Lineker
Lionel Messi is one of the first names that many former Barcelona players associate with the club, and one such former Blaugrana star who never shies away from showering praise on the Argentine phenomenon is Gary Lineker. Though Lineker is a football pundit now, his bias towards Messi is quite clear.
“I think he’s the best player who’s ever donned a pair of football boots. I’m still bewildered by so many of the things he does. It’s almost like he watches the game of football from above while playing it at the same time, and that is staggering.
"People look at goalscoring records and, yes, he scores about a goal per game. But he’s also the best dribbler I’ve ever seen, the most imaginative footballer I’ve ever seen, one of the best passers the game’s ever seen. If you put all those things together you have someone who, frankly, is not a human being.”
Before Lionel Messi, it was Brazilian legend Ronaldinho who was rocking the No. 10 jersey at the Camp Nou. The forward, alongside his teammates, heralded a new era of exciting football to the club with his otherworldly skills, elasticos, and pinpoint free-kicks.
Despite being considered as one of the greatest of all time, he conceded that a young Lionel Messi was already better than him during his time with the Argentine at the Camp Nou.
“Messi is the greatest in history, without doubt. Nobody has done what Messi has done. When he retires, nobody will be worthy of using the No10 shirt.”
#3 Cristiano Ronaldo
We have been lucky to witness two of the greatest footballers of all time in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo plying their trade at the same time. The duo have pushed each other to the limit, and as a result, they have achieved uncountable milestones for the last decade and a half.
Receiving praise from your rival is the ultimate sign of respect, and over the years, Ronaldo has appreciated Messi's genius on many occasions. The Portuguese has often credited his left-footed foe for keeping him on his toes.
“I have no doubt that Messi has made me a better player and vice-versa. I have an excellent professional relationship [with him] because we have been sharing the same moments for 15 years. We've never had dinner together but I don't see why we can't in the future. I don't see a problem with that.”
#2 Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho is one of the most successful managers of our generation, and has coached players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Didier Drogba till date.
So he knows what separates a superstar from their peers. He is known to make bold statements, one of which was calling himself the 'Special One'.
At one point in time, he called Messi the God of football, which is probably the greatest compliment one can give to a football player. Mourinho always remains wary of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner whenever he faces him on the pitch.
"When Messi has the ball one on one, you are dead. That’s why I never I like the individual man to man against Messi."
“Messi is a god, you have to create a cage".
#1 Johan Cruyff
Among all the icons in football, Johan Cruyff holds a special position because of his unparalleled reading of the game. The Dutch legend revolutionised the way football was played, first with his intelligence as a player and then as the manager of Barcelona. He led them to European glory and built the foundations of the famed La Masia academy.
When talking about one of the greatest players to have evolved out of the academy - Lionel Messi - back in 2012, Cruyff prophesied that he will be the player with the most Ballon d'Ors in history and deemed his talents incomparable.
Messi would go on to break the record for the most Ballon d'Or wins, and now has six of those coveted trophies at his home.
"For the world of football, Messi is a treasure because he is a role model for children around the world… Messi will be the player to win the most Ballons d’Or in history. He will win five, six, seven. He is incomparable. He’s in a different league."