Ivan Rakitic said Lionel Messi is different to other players as he lauded the Barcelona superstar following his mesmerising display against Tottenham in the Champions League.
Messi was at his magical best , the five-time Ballon d’Or winner scoring twice to lead Barca to a 4-2 victory over Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday.
After being involved in Barca’s opener inside just 92 seconds, Messi went on to take his Champions League tally to 64 goals in 65 appearances in the group stage.
Messi was snubbed for FIFA’s The Best award – the 31-year-old not on the final three-man shortlist as Real Madrid’s Luka Modric claimed the honour.
Personal honours have been a hot topic this season, with Messi and former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo having dominated the Ballon d’Or over the last decade, but challengers like Modric making a strong case to win more awards in 2018.
But, despite being international team-mates with Croatia captain Modric and having been part of the side’s run to the 2018 World Cup final, Rakitic made it clear who he rates as the greatest footballer.
“With all respect to other players who have won it [Ballon d’Or], we know there is a player who is different to the others and that is Leo Messi,” Rakitic said post-game.
“Sometimes there are circumstances like Luka Modric doing an outstanding season and maybe people want to change a bit.
“But, with all respect, Luka and the others know there is a player who is different to the others, and that is Leo Messi.”
Messi has made a strong start to the season with 10 goals in all competitions, including five in La Liga and as many in the Champions League.
He also continues to torture English sides in Europe , having added Tottenham to his list of Premier League victims on Wednesday.