Rio Ferdinand has insisted that football fans should thank their lucky stars they get to watch Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo break goalscoring records at an alarming rate, while also lavishing praise on the Barcelona following his Champions League heroics last night.
Messi took became the competition's all-time top scorer after slamming home a 28th career hat-trick against APOEL Nicosia in Cyprus, taking his remarkable haul in the Champions League to 74 in 94 matches.
The Argentine superstar passed Raul's mark of 71 with his first goal in the 38th minute to bag his second individual landmark in just four days, after becoming La Liga's greatest marksman just last weekend.
Ferdinand loves the way Messi plays
Ferdinand has revealed that even a top defender can appreciate Messi's unique set of skills, dubbing the diminutive maestro nothing short of an magician on the pitch and one that deserves all the plaudits coming his way.
In a video interview on his official Facebook page the former Manchester United linchpin waxed lyrical about Messi, stating: "Congratulations to Messi, the magician, the artist, the genius. What more words can I use to describe this guy.
Raul is a player Rio remembers well
"27 years old and breaking the Champions League record of Raul, possibly one of the hardest players I've played against in my time in the game.
"The left foot, its beautiful. Artistry, jinks past one, leaves him for dead. It's beautiful, I love it, seriously. At the moment this guy is taking liberties with everyone. Hat-trick, hat-trick again, that's how he carrying on.
Ronaldo remains in hot pursuit
Messi may be rightfully receiving his due from Ferdinand and the wider football community after a quite incredible week even by his lofty standards, but his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo is within touching distance of that Champions League record.
Ronaldo is four behind Messi and just one behind Raul's former record heading into tonight's European assignment against Basel, giving him the perfect opportunity to fire back instantly in Switzerland.
Ferdinand thinks that the ridiculously high standards Ronaldo and Messi continue to set mean they are at times taken for granted by modern football fans, who should enjoy their exploits while they still can.
He said: "Messi and Ronaldo, we are just lucky to be around while these guys are breaking records, weekly at the moment."
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