Lionel Messi may well be recognised as one of the greatest players to have ever stepped foot on a football pitch, but that hasn't stopped Greece international Kostas Manolas naming four forwards ahead of the Argentine superstar.
Indeed, when asked to select the top five forwards that he's played against, the Roma star named the deadly quartet of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luis Suarez, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Messi.
Let's be honest, there won't be too many people who will agree with Manolas, but the defender certainly has his reasons.
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In fact, he has suggested that in contrary to the likes of Ibrahimovic and co., Messi is not an out and out forward.
“He is not an out and out striker, so I haven’t marked him directly and it’s only because of that that I put him in fifth place in this list,” Manolas explained in an interview with Roma's official website, as per Goal.com.
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“But he speeds through opponents like bowling pins and in front of goal he always knows the right thing to do, whether it be to shoot or pass to an unmarked team-mate. He always finds the best way.”
Zlatan & Suarez
The Roma centre-back certainly holds new Manchester United striker Ibrahimovic in high regard while insisting that enigmatic Barca star Suarez is 'lethal' in front of goal.
He continued by saying: “Ibra is a force of nature, you practically can’t keep up with him during the match because he has an incredible physicality,” the 25-year-old said.
“I faced Suarez this year in the 2015-16 Champions League against Barcelona. He is someone who wants to score and who sees the goal. He is ferocious, tough to keep at bay and lethal in front of goal."
Real Madrid star duo
Finally, Manolas, who joined Roma from Olympiacos back in 2014, has lavished praise on Real Madrid's star duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
He finished by saying: "Benzema is also a difficult opponent. He is complete, because he is physically strong and very technical. When physicality and quality come together it isn’t easy to find the answer for us defenders.
“[Cristiano] Ronaldo is a phenomenon. He has everything – dribbling, knows where the goal is, physical strength.
“During the tie against Real Madrid last year he had two chances across the home and away legs and he scored. Lethal.”
What do you make of Manolas' top five forwards? Have your say below!
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