Lionel Messi was seen making an express visit to Italy between Barcelona games

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There's no two ways about it, Lionel Messi is one of the greatest footballers in history.

Many consider him to be the GOAT (greatest of all-time) but there can be no doubting he should be considered alongside Pele, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff and his rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Things haven't slowed down for Messi in recent years either with the 2018-19 season marking more brilliance from the Barcelona star, already boasting 23 goals in just 22 appearances.

He continues to showcase his raw ability with remarkable passing, incomparable dribbling and an uncanny eye of goal proving his finest attributes.

However, perhaps one of the areas that Messi is marked down on when constantly compared to Ronaldo is his work rate.

Lionel Messi's work rate

Nobody is trying to say that Messi doesn't work hard by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to be widely accepted that Ronaldo has put in more hours to reach a similar level.

And while there will never be any objective way of comparing both players' work rates, it's only fair that Messi gets the credit he deserves for his incredible determination, too.

So, it's perhaps fitting that the 31-year-old's admirable efforts towards bettering himself were on display this week.

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Messi's rapid trip to Italy

That's because Messi decided to fly out to Sicily, Italy, between Barcelona games as part of his preparations for the second half of the season.

And according to Spanish publication Sport, it came in an effort to meet his expert nutritionist Giuliano Poser who serves some of Argentinean football's biggest names.

Messi boarded a plane to the Italian island on Monday morning and was back in Barcelona by 3pm.

Poser is somebody who the Barcelona man has trusted for years and last visited him ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

Sport notes in their report: "Poser changed Messi’s diet which has helped the Argentine star perform at his extraordinary level."

The nutritionist also works with Sergio Aguero, Angel di Maria and Luciano Vietto, helping players to maintain their conditioning and even prolong their careers.

Messi was seen posing for a photograph with a Barcelona supporter at the airport and was accompanied by player liaison officer Pepe Costa throughout the excursion. 

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Interesting stuff and you can't exactly fault Messi's commitment to his diet when he's willing to fly out to Sicily for a quick morning visit.

Although the Argentinean has plenty more years at the top, it's certainly wise for him to keep a closer look at his nutrition as he trudges deeper into his thirties.

So, aside from both Messi and Ronaldo showing incredible work ethics, it seems both players are doing everything to remain world-class for as long as possible.

Do you think Messi is the greatest player in history? Have your say in the comments section below.

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