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Xavi, "Messi Is Now Better Than Maradona Was"

Xavi along with several of his La Furia Roja teammates havebeen shortlisted for the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or award, but the excellent midfielder recently admitted that it is his one of his league teammates, Lionel Messi, who is most worthy of the award year after year.

Xavi claimed that if not for Argentina’s mediocre World Cup result that Barcelona’s Messi (last year’s winner of the Ballon d’Or) would walk away with the award every single season. And just to take his proclamation that much further, Xavi claimed that Messi is “now better than Maradona was”:

A player like him only comes around once every 50 years. The only reason the rest of us have any chance of winning this year is because the World Cup didn’t turn out too well for Argentina, because if it had, then it (the Ballon d’Or) would be no contest.

In my view, Leo is now even better than Maradona was. He’s going to be at the very top for many years to come, there’s nobody like him. He loves taking responsibility, he never hides away. And I’ve known him since he was a kid, I’ve watched him develop and I can say that he’s tremendously professional and has good people around him. He’s got all the ingredients for success.

Pretty bold words considering Xavi is claiming that Messi is better then arguably the second best footballer ever, but I guess since he’s Spanish he can say whatever he wants about two of the greatest Argentine footballers considering he doesn’t have to answer to their loyal fan base of Maradona supporters. On the other hand Maradona has won a World Cup and Messi has not, but of course Xavi is teammates with Messi at Barcelona so he is a bit biased about the young scoring sensation. I’m sure any of Maradona’s old teammates would instantly come to his defense and claim that he was the best and the same goes for Pele or Ronaldo or the other chubby Ronaldo or the future Ronaldo that hasn’t even been born yet. Depending on the star, there is a dozen players ready to claim he’s the best and that is just the way it always will be. 

Xavi believes his teammate Messi is the best, but the midfielder did have some respect to pay to rival Cristiano Ronaldo as well. Xavi claims that the Portuguese star is “from another planet”, but the Spanish midfielder did also admit that Real Madrid’s tactical style doesn’t suit his own needs as a footballer: 

Cristiano is an incredible player. That’s something you realise when you come up against him and see his speed, strength and his shooting. At the moment he and Messi are on another planet, a notch above everybody else, and Leo’s a step above the Portuguese. Messi is undeniably the best player in the world.

Let me say one thing: I depend on my team-mates. My football and my passing would be worthless without my team’s help. That’s something which is very clear to me. Sometimes I start thinking and I look at Madrid for example, who have truly great players, but I’d struggle with them. They play through the middle and I need players who open the play down the flanks, who make diagonal runs, who leave space for me in the centre and who never stop moving.