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Barcelona Star Lionel Messi Is the 'Best Player in History,' Says Xavi

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2019

SEVILLE, SPAIN - MARCH 17: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona reacts during the La Liga match between Real Betis Balompie and FC Barcelona at Estadio Benito Villamarin on March 17, 2019 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Xavi Hernandez says former team-mate Lionel Messi is the "best player in history" following his stunning hat-trick against Real Betis on Sunday.

Messi inspired Barcelona to a 4-1 win at the Benito Villamarin Stadium, earning an ovation from the Betis fans in the process.

Per Sky Sports on Monday, Xavi said of Messi:

"Every day he is a better player. He is unbelievable. In my opinion he is the best player in history, not just in this moment, in history.

"What he is doing is incredible. Every game he makes the difference, every game, since 12 years ago. I was playing with him and his skill, he's incredible. The best player in the history in my opinion for sure."

Xavi may be a former team-mate of the Argentinian, but there are plenty who share his view, including The Independent's Miguel Delaney and football commentator Ray Hudson:

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

Good to “enjoy both Messi and Ronaldo” and also knowing Messi is the best player in history. The things he can do with a ball are ridiculous. Utter mastery.

beIN SPORTS USA @beINSPORTSUSA

"Footballing genius, nothing less." After what Messi did this weekend, we had to clear out some space for @RayHudson. See more from Ray on @FCBarcelona's treble chase and Messi's @Argentina return here ➡️ https://t.co/Bs9tEVo4ym https://t.co/m95LjAFUzN

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Messi's hat-trick on Sunday was the 51st of his incredible career, and it will rank among his best.

After adding another free-kick to his ever-growing collection, the 31-year-old raced onto a delightful backheel from Luis Suarez and flicked the ball past Betis goalkeeper Pau Lopez.

Lopez was helpless went it came to Messi's third, which the No. 10 audaciously chipped over him from just inside the area with a first-time finish.

Only Xavi sits ahead of Messi in Barcelona's all-time appearance standings, but the latter broke one of the Spaniard's records on Sunday:

B/R Football @brfootball

Lionel Messi overtakes Xavi for most wins in Barcelona history. His legend grows. https://t.co/apGNdKkLCd

Following his hat-trick, La Liga shared some of the many sensational highlights Messi has produced in the Spanish top flight over the years:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

Messi has the cheat code to football. 🔝⚽️🎮 https://t.co/UTOZxd5t3A

While he may be behind Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to UEFA Champions League wins and goals—Ronaldo has five titles to Messi's four and 124 goals to 108—the latter has been similarly outstanding in Europe's premier competition over the years:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Lionel Messi is an alien sent to Earth from a football playing planet as a sign of peace 👽 That's the only way to explain his Top 10 Champions League goals 🔥 https://t.co/KTQleDTtDp

Messi delivers a phenomenal number of goals season after season, and his output has continued unabated despite evolving his game in recent years to become more of a playmaker for Barcelona. He can pick a pass and dribble past defenders with the best of them, and his intelligence on and off the ball is virtually unrivaled.

Messi is a jack of all trades, and he's mastered almost all of them.

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