Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi has described Lionel Messi as "the best player we will ever see."
Xavi, a colleague of Messi's at the Camp Nou until last year, said he did not believe the Argentina captain needed to win the World Cup to be considered as the game's all-time greatest.
"Leo is undoubtedly the best player I have ever played with," he told La Vanguardia. "He is the best player I have ever seen, and he is the best we will ever see.
"He is the best player in history -- he does not need to win the World Cup to be the best."
Xavi pointed out that "Alfredo Di Stefano and Johan Cruyff did not win the World Cup either" and described watching Messi in action as "one big show."
"He does what he wants -- he does everything right," he said.
"There are two types of speed in football. There is the physical aspect, where Leo is on another level, although Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar also have it.
"And then there is the mental aspect, speed of thought. Messi is second to none here. He is always one step ahead of you.
"You can try whatever you want to stop him, but when you try to win the ball off him, he's gone.
"His centre of gravity is incredibly low. He is the perfect prototype of a footballer. He is a force of nature -- spectacular."