It's not every day you hear the names Michael Carrick and Lionel Messi in the same sentence.
That's not taking anything away from the Manchester United midfielder, whose steady influence has been key to the club's success since he arrived from Tottenham in 2006.
We should probably mention Jose Mourinho was not making a direct comparison between the two, or their abilities, when he brought up the point in his Friday press conference ahead of United's game against Burnley this weekend.
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Carrick's a decent player, but... you get the idea, this doesn't really need going into.
What Mourinho did point out, however, is that it's understandable that the former England international can no longer play every game.
While many United fans have been crying out for him to replace Marouane Fellaini in central midfield, the Special One has had to manage Carrick carefully, and as he is now 35, it's proving difficult to find someone quite like him.
"In five years time, Messi will be 34 and we will all be crying that he is 34," Mourinho joked.
The thought of Messi hanging his boots up just doesn't bear thinking about. Even the thought of him losing his magic when he eventually approaches the end of his playing days is weirdly traumatising.
Perhaps it's not quite the same with Carrick, but it's clear United are going to find it hard to bring in a player of his quality nonetheless.
"Michael is very difficult to replace," Mourinho added, per the Mirror.
“He is phenomenal. I have to manage him. I cannot expect from him what I expect from Rashford and Herrera.
“When he’s on the pitch he gives us important things. Stability in our game, mental freedom to the other guys.
“He’s not just a player he is someone who has a big understanding of the game and it’s a pity you sometimes cannot stop the clock."
Who should Mourinho play as Man United's centre-midfield pairing? Have your say in the comments.
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