Lampard admitted that, while he loves Brazilian icon Ronaldinho and prolific Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi is on a different level to anyone else he has ever seen.
When asked by FourFourTwo who the best player he has played with or against, Lampard responded: “That’s easy. Lionel Messi. I used to love Ronaldinho, and I love Cristiano Ronaldo too, his goals record at Real Madrid is amazing. But having played against him at the both the Nou Camp and Stamford Bridge it has to be Messi. You just can’t get near him.”
Messi has played against Chelsea on several occasions throughout his career - but missed a penalty when the two sides last went head-to-head, in the 2011/12 Champions League semi-finals. Lampard’s side eventually advanced to the final, where they defied the odds to beat favourites Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena to become European champions for the first time in their history.
But Messi still managed to make a lasting impression - not just on Lampard, but also on his Chelsea teammate Ramires, who earlier this year named the four-time Ballon d’Or winner as his toughest ever opponent.
There’s still a chance that Chelsea could meet Messi and his Barcelona teammates in this season’s Champions League campaign. However, in order to make that a reality, the Blues must overturn a 3-1 deficit against French champions Paris Saint-Germain in this evening’s quarter-final second leg at Stamford Bridge.