Lionel Messi..

What Gary Neville said about Lionel Messi after he ruined Man Utd in 2011

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It seems impossible to consider one of Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United teams being handed a footballing masterclass but that's exactly what Barcelona did in 2011.

The Catalans were at the height of their ability with Pep Guardiola and delivered one of the all time great team performances under the Wembley arch to claim the Champions League title.

Goals from each member of the ruthless attacking triumvirate of Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa confined the Red Devils to a 3-1 defeat that night.

Ferguson even declared after the match: "They're the best in Europe, no question about that. In my time as a manager, I would say they're the best team we've faced.

"Everyone acknowledges that and I accept that. It's not easy when you've been well beaten like that to think another way. No one has given us a hiding like that. It's a great moment for them. They deserve it because they play the right way and enjoy their football."

Every single player in that Barcelona XI played out of their skins with Andres Iniesta and Xavi forming the heart of that famous midfield which made passing an art.

Nobody in that team deserved credit quite like Messi, though.

His first Champions League capture as the main man in Barcelona's team elevated his status in the 'beautiful game' to new heights at just the age of 23.

Since that day, he has become the all time top goal scorer for his club, country and league with a record breaking five Ballon d'Or titles on an individual level.

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel M

Seeing him dance his way through one of Ferguson's finest United outfits simply never gets old, though, and nobody watching that night could sit there anything but mesmerised.

It was no different for the Sky Sports pundits who analysed the game that night with Jamie Redknapp, Graeme Souness and Gary Neville delivering their verdict.

The discussion is brilliant to watch now and although Messi had already confirmed himself as an up and coming great, the experts were still discussing such a young star. Check it out:

Even Neville, who experienced the supreme talent of Cristiano Ronaldo first hand, declared Messi's superiority and said that fans shouldn't be afraid of declaring him the GOAT.

And such high praise for a 23-year-old has only been vindicated in recent years with stunning season after stunning season.

Neville may only have been a few months deep into his punditry career back in 2011 but it seems he knew exactly what he was talking about right from the very start.

Do you think Lionel Messi is the greatest of all time? Have your say in the comments section below.

Gary Neville
Lionel Messi

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