Malcom explains that Lionel Messi is 'way above' Cristiano Ronaldo this season

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It hasn't exactly been a fairytale season for Malcom at Barcelona.

Having made what looked to be a dream move last summer, the Brazilian has struggled for first-team opportunities and has only been named in the starting XI on six occasions.

Malcom was under no illusion that he would be the first name on the team-sheet, but he would have hoped to be competing with Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho more often.

As a result, rumours are spreading that Malcom will look to leave the club this summer with AC Milan, Arsenal and Tottenham amongst the potential suitors.

The player's agent has since thrown water on the reports but regardless of whether Malcom stays or goes, he will have picked up plenty of experience at the Nou Camp.

Messi enjoying a brilliant season

Just because Ernesto Valverde hasn't selected him regularly, it doesn't mean that his game hasn't improved from training with top players like Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez.

Then, of course, there is Lionel Messi. The jewel in Barcelona's crown has been in astonishing form this season and has emerged as the early favourite for the Ballon d'Or.

And it seems Messi has the full backing of Malcom, who believes his Barcelona teammate is now 'way above' Cristiano Ronaldo and the best since Pele.

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Malcom: Messi is 'way above' Ronaldo

"He [Cristiano] is one of the best in the world right now but I think Messi is way above him," the 22-year-old explained in an interview with De Sola.

"I don't see him every day like Messi, but Messi is very natural. He can decide a match in two minutes.

"Messi is going to be considered the best after Pele. I didn't think that before, but now that I've seen him closely, yes, I see how he works day by day and he is sensational.

"He never ceases to amaze me with the things he does. We know he can cut in from the left, but we don't know when, and then waiting for that exact angle, that exact moment.

"During the game he is looking at the defence, it's position and what he is going to do. It's amazing. It is a unique feeling to play with him.

"I have the day that Messi applauded my Champions League goal recorded, I will never forget it."

FC Barcelona v  Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga

Sure, Malcom is always going to be biased towards his own teammate but his praise is wide-ranging and corroborated by an interminable list of statistics this season.

As far as the Brazilian is concerned, only his nation's hero Pele can compare to Messi, which may prove slightly controversial given the recent war of words.

But now that Malcom has shared the pitch and training sessions with Messi, he knows it's impossible to consider him anything short of the world's best right now.

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

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