Ronald Koeman says Lionel Messi is the type of player that only comes along every 100 years after the Barcelona star equalled his free-kick record in Wednesday's win over Athletic Bilbao.
Messi's goal against Athletic, which sealed Barca's passage into the quarterfinal of the Copa del Rey, was his third via a dead ball in as many games and his 26th for the club in all competitions.
Everton manager Koeman, during six years at Camp Nou as a player, also scored 26 free-kicks, more than any other Blaugrana player, past or present, but it seems a matter of time now until Messi takes that record from him.
"It will be an immense honour for me that the best player of all time, Leo Messi, [will be the player] to beat my record," Koeman said in an interview with Diario Sport.
"I have never seen anyone like him. And believe me, I've coincided with some great footballers. Messi is a genius, one of those players that appears every 50 or 100 years.
"Sometimes it seems a lie that he's made from skin and bone because he does things that are out of the reach of normal players."
Despite Koeman's praise, it was Cristiano Ronaldo, not Messi, who swept up at this year's individual awards. The Real Madrid forward pocketed the Ballon d'Or in December and then FIFA's The Best earlier this week.
"These prizes have a lot to do with marketing, they're global and even though I respect them, they nearly always reward a goalscorer who has won a title," Koeman added when asked if that meant the Portuguese international was comparable with Messi.
"Ronaldo won the Champions League and the European Championships, he scored a lot of goals, yes, but the best, the best footballer is Messi.
"Ronaldo is really good, a great goalscorer, but Messi is more complete, more technical. He makes those around him better and he does things [Ronaldo] could never do."