Xavi had the great fortune of watching Lionel Messi develop from a small, skinny teenager into the world’s best football player.
The Spanish midfielder played with Messi at Barcelona for 11 seasons before he left for Qatar, and in that time they featured in some of the finest teams in the history of the game.
The Pep Guardiola sides from 2008 through to 2011 were simply incredible and Xavi and Messi were both key components of them.
The Argentinian has continued to shine without Xavi - he’s currently heading for a sixth European Golden Shoe - and there’s probably some part of the Al Sadd midfielder that wishes he could still call Messi a teammate.
Messi’s performances over the past few weeks, which include a brace and two assists in Barcelona’s 5-1 win against Lyon and a hat-trick against Real Betis, have reopened the greatest of all-time debate.
- Messi is officially the best passer in Europe
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- Pogba: Messi is extraordinary
Gary Lineker recently put the question to his followers on Twitter, asking ‘Messi or Ronaldo - who is the greatest?’ - and 62 per cent of fans sided with Messi.
And Xavi is also among those who believes that the Barcelona maestro is the best player in history.
Xavi: Messi is the GOAT
The 39-year-old was speaking to ESPN when he said that Messi has been making an impact in every game for the past 12 years.
“Every day he’s a better player. He’s unbelievable. He is, in my opinion, the best player in history. Not just in this moment - in history,” Xavi said.
“What he’s doing is incredible. Every game he makes the difference, every game. Since 12 years ago, it’s amazing.
“I was playing with him and I know that his skills are incredible. The best player in history in my opinion, for sure.”
To hear that Xavi is in Camp Messi isn’t a surprise.
But it’s clear that his admiration for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and everything he’s accomplished is genuine.