Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas believes we may never see another player of Lionel Messi’s calibre again.
The Spaniard played with Messi at Barcelona between 2011 and 2014, and they also played together at the club’s academy, La Masia, before Fabregas left for Arsenal in 2003.
He spoke to AS‘ Aritz Gabilondo about whether football will ever see another player like his former team-mate:
“I think that’s probably impossible. We’ve seen the likes of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, amazing players, but Messi has been the best for 15 years.
“He’s in his 17th season and he’s been the best since he was 18 years old. I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe.
“Every three days he scores goals, he heads off to play for Argentina, he come back jet-lagged and scores a hat-trick…that’s not normal, believe me.”
Messi has yet to feature for Barca this season because of injury, and despite the world-class talent elsewhere at the Camp Nou, his absence has been felt:
Last season, he notched 51 goals and 22 assists in 50 matches in all competitions.
Among his strikes was this Puskas Award contender:
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and Metro‘s Oliver Myles-Young did not agree with Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk beating Messi to the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award:
While a combined return of 73 goals and assists in a single campaign would be a career-best season for almost any other player, such numbers are expected of Messi every year.
In total, the 32-year-old has racked up 671 career goals and 286 assists for club and country.
As his numbers demonstrate, he’s both a phenomenal goalscorer and playmaker. He is also a world-class dribbler, and he’s among the best passers of the ball too.
Given his exceptional ability in so many aspects of the game and his longevity at the peak of the sport, many feel he’s the all-time best. It could be a long time, if ever, before a player like Messi comes around again.