Lionel Messi Admits Huge Admiration for Robin van Persie and Mesut Ozil

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2013

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It's always nice for a player to receive praise from his peers, but when it comes from the world's greatest footballer, it carries extra significance.

With that in mind, Robin van Persie and Mesut Ozil can truly rest easy knowing they're going about their business just fine at the moment after drawing praise from Lionel Messi.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10:  Robin van Persie of Manchester United celebrates at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 10, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey
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The Barcelona forward also spoke very highly of Arjen Robben to Dutch paper De Telegraaf, via ESPN:

Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben are two great players. Ozil is for me Germany's best player, he is first class, very creative.

Van Persie is a total footballer, a very complete forward and capable of scoring lots of goals. Robben also has class, but is more predictable. He can dribble the ball at speed and leave many players behind.

Messi is currently sidelined after suffering another muscle injury, and he is expected to be missing from action until 2014, per CNN's Tancredi Palmeri:

It's long been debated as to which of Europe's top leagues holds the most value in terms of playing ability, so Premier League defendants will be happy to hear one of the world's best players speak graciously of their biggest stars.

Ozil has adapted incredibly well to the English top flight since arriving as Arsenal's deadline-day coup, scoring three goals and making seven assists in his 14 Arsenal outings.   

United forward van Persie has also been in fine form, scoring seven Premier League goals so far this term, but there's a number of strikers in the competition currently beating him in the scoring charts.

Messi will be all too familiar with both of the stars, too. Ozil has been one of his main El Clasico rivals over the last three years, scoring one goal and making seven assists in his 16 matches against Barca.

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05:  Mesut Oezil (L) of Arsenal gestures as he trains alongside team-mates during a training session at London Colney on November 5, 2013 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

The history of van Persie against La Blaugrana is considerably shorter, but his impact is very notable all the same. The Dutchman scored and was sent off across the two legs of Arsenal's Champions League meeting with Barcelona in the 2010/11 season. 

There's not many who need to testify as to exactly how talented Messi is on the individual scale, but it's pleasing to hear that praise for his fellow professionals isn't beyond the Argentinian sensation.