England icon Gary Lineker seemed absolutely amazed by the performance of Lionel Messi for Barcelona against Manchester City on Wednesday - dubbing him the greatest ever footballer on Twitter.
The 27-year-old Argentinian, who is the Champions League's record goalscorer with 74 and has 397 goals in 464 goals for Barcelona, was in sumptuous form as he and his teammates launched wave after wave of attacks on the City goal in the Champions League last-16 match.
Barcelona had to settle for a 1-0 win on the night, winning 3-1 on aggregate, but City had a lot to thank goalkeeper Joe Hart for, with the England international saving numerous times as Messi threatened repeatedly.
Two wonderful moments from the four-time Ballon d'Or winner surely played a part in Lineker's statement. The first was Messi's sublime cross for Ivan Rakitic to score the game's only goal, while the second saw the Argentine nonchalantly nutmeg James Milner out on the wing, but there were many more examples of dribbling and passing that impressed.
Lineker justified his claim by saying Messi showed up world-class stars like City striker Sergio Aguero and former Liverpool man Luis Suarez.
Messi is indisputably the greatest player ever to don a pair of football boots. Don't even attempt to argue the point.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 18, 2015
A measure of Messi's greatness is that he makes world class players like Aguero and Suarez look distinctly ordinary by comparison.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 18, 2015
The striker had just finished as top scorer in the World Cup in Mexico, and despite a difficult spell under Johan Cruyff once Venables left, is still fondly thought of in Catalonia, undoubtedly helped by a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Real Madrid.
But however much Lineker favours Barca, it's hard to argue with him on Lionel Messi, who has 43 goals to his name in 39 games this season.