Pep Guardiola. PA

Pep Guardiola hails Messi as greatest footballer ever

City manager describes World Cup win as ‘final achievement of an incredible career’ for Messi.

MANCHESTER CITY BOSS Pep Guardiola has said Lionel Messi is the best player of all time, and congratulated Julian Alarvez, following Argentina’s World Cup triumph. 

City striker Alvarez played a key role in his country’s triumph while for Messi, who enjoyed great success under Guardiola at Barcelona, it was the crowning glory of an outstanding career.

Former City defender Nicolas Otamendi also played a big part in the success, which was sealed in a penalty shoot-out against France in a remarkable final on Sunday.

Messi’s victory cements his place among the greatest players the game has ever seen.

For Guardiola, who won the Champions League twice with Messi at Barca, that issue had never been in doubt.

He said: “Everyone has an opinion but nobody can doubt he’s there. I’ve said many times, for me, he’s the best. It is difficult to understand how a player can appear and do what he’s done in the last 10-15 years.

“The people who saw Pele or Di Stefano, or Maradona – they can say their favourites.

“In these opinions, they can have a sentimental approach.

“If he’d not won the World Cup, my opinion about what he has done for world football would not change, but it is normal for people that it depends on if they win.

“For him it is the final achievement of an incredible career.”

Guardiola said he was “delighted” for Julian Alvarez.

“He played a lot and his contribution was amazing for the team, for the way they played. We have a world champion in our team.

“We are incredibly happy for him. Congratulations to him, for Nico Otamendi and, of course, personally for Leo Messi, for Argentina as a country, well deserved champions.”

Press Association
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