Chelsea and Manchester City transfer target Radamel Falcao is a 'great player' according to Lionel Messi.

As the world's best player himself, Messi should be a good judge, and the Argentinian was full of praise for his South American compatriot's talents.

Messi, a three-time Ballon d'Or winner, said he has been impressed by the Colombian international's form in 2012. Falcao has scored eight La Liga goals so far this season - the same amount as Messi and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi is set to represent Argentina in his country's World Cup qualifiers with Uruguay and Chile later this month, and told Fox Sports Radio del Plata that Falcao has made an impression on him.

"Falcao is a great player and the quality he has with the ball and the way he shoots is impressive," said Messi.

Chelsea are believed to be leading to race for the £48m-rated striker. The Stamford Bridge side are thought to be considering their forward options, with just Fernando Torres and Danny Sturridge available for Roberto Di Matteo as senior strikers.

Chelsea have been linked with a £45m bid when the transfer window opens in January, and Atletico Madrid have said a bid around £48m would be considered for their star striker. The Blues decided against signing a replacement for Chelsea legend Didier Drogba.

But Manchester City are also keen on the forward. City boss Roberto Mancini travelled to Spain to watch Falcao play, and score, during Atletico Madrid's 2-1 victory over Malaga last weekend.

Manchester City have also been linked with Fiorentina star Steven Jovetic, as Mancini looks to strengthen his squad as they bid to retain the Premier League title.

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