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Xavi: No one will ever match Messi, not even Ronaldo logo 19-07-2016
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Barcelona icon Xavi believes no player will ever be able to match the ability and achievements of Lionel Messi, insisting even Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be compared to him.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is considered by many as the greatest ever having enjoyed a glittering career which includes four Champions League crowns, three Club World Cups and eight La Liga titles.

While Messi failed to add an international crown to his honours list, he guided Argentina to three consecutive finals; losing out to Germany in the 2014 World Cup before twice being beaten by Chile in the Copa America.

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The latest defeat prompted Messi to retire from the national team and, despite that black mark on his career, Xavi insists he is easily the greatest player the game has ever seen.

"For me, there is no heir to Messi," the former Spain international told Sport. "There will never be one. There will be very good footballers, but nobody at Messi's level.

"To be at the top for so many years, winning so many individual and team trophies, will be impossible to surmount.

"In the future, everything will be more equal amongst the best players. Though now they try to sell the story of the battle between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, those of us who know football, know there is no comparison.

"When Messi ends his career, there will be Neymar, Eden Hazard and five or 10 players at a similar level, but none with the unquestionable superiority of Messi."

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Messi is expected to extend his contract with Barcelona in the coming weeks and his former team-mate feels the club must do everything they can to keep him happy in the aftermath of his conviction for tax fraud.

"He is still the best in the world, making the difference and putting it in the top corner," he added.

"He is happy in Barcelona, I'm not saying he's not bothered by some off the field issues, but on the pitch he is still the same player.

"It is great to have Messi, and he needs to be kept happy and content. Above all, all these issues need to be resolved as soon as possible, so he can start from a clean slate.

"But really, it doesn't affect him. If there is someone mentally strong, that person is Messi. He has overcome it all."

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