Barcelona icon Xavi Hernandez has offered his take on the ever-raging debate as to who is the best player in the world of football, but his views aren’t likely to be accepted by a large portion of fans.
Writing candidly in his column for Spanish newspaper Sport - as relayed by Le 10 Sport - the Nou Camp legend, who is due to take his leave of the club this summer after over 15 years in the first-team, revealed that there is no question in his mind that Lionel Messi is a level above his Portuguese counterpart Cristiano Ronaldo.
Xavi on Messi
When asked about the subject of the Ballon d’Or, and which player should take it home each year, Xavi offered the opinion that it depends which metric people are using to decide it.
"Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or? For me, he has always deserved it. He is the best player in the world. If the vote goes to the best in the world, then this is Leo," Xavi insisted.
"But if it's for the best of the year, a Spaniard should have won in 2010, and a German this season. Why did Cristiano win when Germany are world champions? Vote for the best player in the world? Messi, no doubt."
On top of that though the former Spain international also said that he believed the only people who backed Ronaldo’s claim for being the best player in the world were either family members or fans of Real Madrid or Portugal.
"Whoever says otherwise is a relative of Cristiano Ronaldo or supports Madrid or Portugal. But one who understands football knows there is not a player who dominates both individually and collectively."
Naturally one can assume Xavi was always going to back Messi since the pair have enjoyed many great years at Barcelona together, but in any case it’s important to listen to such a notorious thinker in the game as it could be argued that he knows a great deal more about judging different players than any media critic or studio pundit.
Given Real’s rivalry with Barca and Xavi’s aforementioned relationship with Messi the fact that he opted for the diminutive Argentinian will hardly ruffle feathers over at the Santiago Bernabeu, where the general consensus is that their leading son is probably the greatest player ever to lace up a pair of boots.
The brilliance at hand
Indeed in a generation where athleticism is thought to be at its peak thanks to advances in science and physical training the fact that Ronaldo and Messi both stand head and shoulders above the rest of the world is testament to their unerring brilliance.
Even Xavi, who himself will go down in football’s Hall of Fame, can’t attest to having left as large a mark on the sport as the duo he has compared, and the pair aren’t even finished yet.
Football fans, is Xavi right in his estimations concerning Messi? How many of you think Ronaldo is the better player? It’s an age old debate but let’s have a crack at establishing a majority in the comments box below.