David Villa: Messi is the best of all time

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 14: David Villa (R) of Barcelona celebrates scoring his sides second goal with his teammate Lionel Messi during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Barcelona and Panathinaikos on September 14, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won the match 5-1. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

David Villa has joined the group of football fans who believe his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the greatest player ever.

Villa currently playing for Japanese team Vissel Kobe rated the Argentine great above the likes of Pele, Maradona and Cruyff owing to the fact he didn’t see them play.

Fondly known as El Guaje, the former Valencia ace spent a number of trophy-laden seasons with the Argentine at the Camp Nou and, for him, there is no debate about who the best is.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 14: David Villa (L) of Barcelona celebrates scoring his sides second goal with his teammate Lionel Messi during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Barcelona and Panathinaikos on September 14, 2010, in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won the match 5-1. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

“Leo Messi is the greatest player of all time,” Villa said in an interview with Reuters and cited on Marca.

“Barcelona owes its success to his evolution: a direct style of passing play based on possession.”

The 2008 European Championship and 2010 World Cup winner went on to lavish further praise on Messi’s status among the greats

“Obviously with the likes of Pele, Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff, I didn’t have the chance to watch them like I used to see Messi every day, in every game,” he added.

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“But, in my opinion, Messi’s the best.”

The Catalan giants will unleash a well-rested Lionel Messi against Manchester United on Tuesday night as they seek to build on their one-goal lead from Old Trafford.

Barcelona are still in the hunt for another treble having secured a spot in Copa del Rey final coupled with a healthy lead at the summit of La Liga.