Former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has praised his club-mate Lionel Messi after the Argentine forward bagged seven goals in the last two games.

Messi, a five-time La Liga winner, scored both of Barcelona's goals in their 2-0 victory over Racing Santander last weekend, three days after he dispatched five past Bayer Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno.

Fabregas, who joined the Catalan side last summer, hailed Messi as a pleasure to play with after the reigning FIFA Ballon d'Or winner scored his 49th and 50th goals of a remarkable season.

His recent form in-front of goal has seen the Argentine international inch towards Cesar's all-time Barcelona goal-scoring record, and he now sits just five goals short. The 24-year-old also remains on course to surpass his own best-ever single season goal tally, recorded last year when he notched 53 on the way to domestic and European glory.

Speaking to Barcelona's club website, Fabregas said: "He's different to every other player in the world, and it's a pleasure to be able to play with him, to have him in the team, because he gives you this extra confidence that every champion team needs."

The former Gunner said the world's best player is a down-to-earth character who has earned the success he's currently enjoying.

"He's a humble player, hard working, he loves football. He deserves everything that's happening to him," Fabregas added.

Barca's win over Racing saw them keep pace with league leaders Real Madrid, however Mourinho's side remain 10 points clear of their fierce rivals. The gap could be extended further this weekend as Guardiola's team travel to Sevilla while Madrid face a more straight-forward encounter at home to Malaga.

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