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Messi acknowledges “spectacular” rival Casillas

Casillas, Messi
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Lionel Messi has paid homage to bitter rival on the field of play Iker Casillas while insisting he has nothing but admiration for his accomplishments.

Tributes have poured in from far and wide following the announcement that Iker Casillas was retiring from football.

It is quite fitting that one of the most poignant tributes to arguably La Liga’s greatest guardian of the goal comes from the player that besieged it better than anyone else in La Liga.

Lionel Messi is a player that Casillas himself acknowledges as the best opponent he ever faced, “ “The best striker I have ever faced? It is Messi.”

Messi likewise has nothing but admiration for the many battles that ensued between them and the accomplishments of a spectacular goalkeeper.

Speaking to AS, the Argentine admits the rivalry brought the very best of them both.

He said:

“Iker is retiring today, but he has passed into the history of football a long time ago, not only because he was a benchmark in the League, but also because he managed to win everything at the international level.”

“You are a spectacular goalkeeper and it was really hard to have you as an opponent, but looking back I also think it was a pretty nice rivalry that made us have to outdo ourselves every time we faced each other.”

Despite the players being separated by the great divide of Real Madrid and Barcelona, it is clear that they recognize the best when they see it. The sign of a true great is to acknowledge it too.