After his masterclass against Real Madrid in El Clasico, there's not too much doubt about that.
In all but four games since the start of 2014, Messi has been decisive. Be that a goal or an assist.
Per WhoScored.com, since the Copa del Rey game against Getafe on January 8, the Argentine has 20 goals, nine assists and 12 man-of-the-match performances in 18 games.
Compare that to Cristiano Ronaldo over the same time period, and we can see the Barca man comes out on top.
The Portuguese isn't too far behind on 15 goals, five assists and seven man-of-the-match accolades, per WhoScored, but the evidence speaks for itself.
Despite many believing that Real Madrid's talisman is the form player in the division, the Argentine is not only playing better, but he arguably has still got some more left in the tank. Another level to go to.
The sort of zone that Messi finds himself in at present is something we take completely for granted, but the influence he has over virtually every game in which he partakes is almost incomprehensible.
How do you even begin to put a value on that sort of pedigree?
Well, we can start by looking at other factors. How marketable is he? What is the length of his current contract and how much is that worth?
What might his market value be in general?
According to an interview with AFP Sports via Yahoo! Sport, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu has promised to make Messi the highest paid footballer on the planet:
We are in the midst of the season, so it is not the moment to be negotiating with him, but it is the moment to talk to the agents and with his father and that is what we are doing.
We will talk with them about how we see the player. He is our star and he has a contract until 2018 because we want him to participate in our future, but there is the will within the club that he becomes the best paid player in the world.
He is the number one and, as we have said various times, he also deserves to be the best paid player in the world.
From a marketing perspective, he may not be the most demonstrable or outgoing of individuals, in perhaps the same way as David Beckham, but his weekly deeds speak to a global audience.
His El Clasico hat-trick would've been seen by billions worldwide and his all-round performance completely overshadowed that of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Aside from his footballing prowess, Messi is often noted for his humility. Work for the Leo Messi Foundation and Unicef is a winner with sponsors who want a no-nonsense, no-controversy ambassador for their brand.
Companies want to work with Lionel Messi. A marketing man's dream.
To put things into some sort of perspective, according to David Kent of the Daily Mail, three un-named European clubs recently had a study commissioned to see if they might be able to afford to buy the world's best player.
Professor Gerardo Molina, who wrote the report, said:
There are three European clubs that asked us to come up with this study in order to find out how much Messi was worth. We cannot say who the clubs are. The clubs wanted to analyse the viability of a possible transfer for Messi.
Messi is five times more marketable than Cristiano Ronaldo. According to studies, Ronaldo is worth between €150 and 160m. Messi’s buy-out clause is €250m, we believe that figure is obsolete and devalued.
Right now there is no player in the world of sport that has a greater value than Leo Messi. According to market research in the last five years, Messi is worth €400m.
Kent's report is dated from the beginning of January, so it's arguable that Messi's value has increased since then.
Could we be therefore be looking at the world's first half-a-billion-euro player?!
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