Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Gerry Armstrong: Lionel Messi is the greatest

Lionel Messi

Gerry Armstrong has hailed Lionel Messi as the best player in the world — even better than George Best at his peak.

Northern Ireland’s 1982 World Cup hero, who played alongside Best and against some of the game’s greats including Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff and Michel Platini, now believes that Barcelona’s talisman is in “a league of his own”.

Spanish football television pundit Armstrong looked on in disbelief as the little Argentinian netted two consecutive La Liga hat-tricks and says the current ‘World Player of the Year’ is the greatest of them all.

“I have played against (Michel) Platini, (Diego) Maradona, (Johan) Cruyff and played with George Best — a lot of big names, but none of them has been able to do what Messi does,” said Armstrong. Two years ago I said that the best player I played against was Maradona and the best player I have played with was Bestie. But I can now say I have never seen a player as good as Messi.

“He’s in a league of his own.”

Messi’s next match is the Champions League tie against Arsenal on Wednesday and Armstrong believes Messi is the man the Gunners will have to silence.

“If they can do that, they can win the tie as Barca have not always been on fire this season.”

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