Lionel Messi has lavished praise on Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, claiming the Spain international is the 'best' player in the history of the club.
Valdes is fourth on the list of Barcelona's highest appearances makers, behind only Migueli, Carles Puyol and Xavi, having played almost 500 games for Barca during 11 years in the first-team at the Camp Nou.
The 31-year-old will, however, end his association with Barcelona at the end of his current contract, with Valdes having informed the club he is not interested in extending his current deal past 2014.
Valdes received a rapturous reception from the Barcelona crowd during the defeat of Osasuna on Sunday, in a game which Tito Vilanova's side won convincingly 5-1.
Messi scored four goals in the encounter to take his career tally in La Liga beyond 200, but the Barcelona superstar says the night will belong to Valdes.
"He deserves all the applause and more. For me he’s the best keeper in the history of this club," Messi told reporters after the game.
Messi has now scored an astonishing 44 goals in 32 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona this season as he bids to break even more records in 2013.
The 25-year-old's is now the eighth player in the history of La Liga to reach a double century of strikes, while he is the first ever to score in 11 consecutive matches.