Xavi - Messi is the best

Playmaker heaps praise on Barca team-mate

Lionel Messi (L): 'Maybe the best of all time' according to team-mate Xavi

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Barcelona playmaker Xavi has described team-mate Lionel Messi as 'maybe the best player of all time'.

Messi scored five times in Wednesday's 7-1 UEFA Champions League demolition of Bayer Leverkusen to win yet more plaudits.

And ahead of Sunday's trip to Racing Santander, Xavi joined the throng.

Best

"He is the best player in the world - maybe the best of all time,'' said the Spaniard. "Football is moving on, but he stays the same.

"He deserves the admiration of any sportsman. He is incomparable, a one-off. There is no other player who can make such a difference - he'll break all the records.''

Xavi is happy with his side's current form but knows nothing can hide the fact they trail Primera Liga rivals Real Madrid by a hefty 10 points.

He remains on a high after the Leverkusen win but admits that joy is tempered by the sobering sight of the league table.

"We are showing that we really are at a high level,'' he added.

"We are feeling good, happy with the way we are playing and enjoying our performances. But we never feel that we are unbeatable. We feel strong and dominant, because we are creating chances and enjoying long periods of possession.

"That helps to make us feel secure in our game, but we aren't invincible - we are 10 points off the leaders in the league.''

The Catalan midfielder is two goals short of his record for a single season, having scored 12 in 36 games, and is satisfied with his own form.

"I'm happy with my season so far - not just for my goals, but also because I've been involved in a lot of games and only had a few slight injuries," he said.

"I'm in good form and helping the team.''