Lionel Mes6.

Thus Lionel Messi took home the leading honour at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ 2019 in Milan, outranking runner-ups Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo to be crowned The Best FIFA Men’s Player for the 6th time in his career—most of any individual in football’s history. Here are 6 quotes from 6 football legends to celebrate this hextraordinary achievement. 

#1 'IF OPTION IS TO FOUL LIONEL MESSI, IT'S IMPORTANT TO DO IT OUTSIDE THE BOX AND AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE'

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Quality + speed, but very left footed. Exactly the same behaviours as Ronaldinho Gaucho. Inside between lines or diagonals. Encourages team forward by ball driving. Amazing 1 vs 1.

If option is to foul Lionel Messi, it's important to do it outside the box and as early as possible."

– Jose Mourinho’s scouting report on Barcelona and an 18-year-old Lionel Messi

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#2 'THIS AWARD SAYS I’M THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD, BUT I’M NOT EVEN THE BEST AT BARCELONA'

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This award says I’m the best player in the world, but I’m not even the best player at Barcelona!

Lionel Messi reminds me of Diego Maradona, both left-footed and short. Messi is the best player in the world and for us at Barcelona it is not a surprise—since he began to come and train with us we knew he would go down this path. Someday I will explain that I was at the birth of one of the footballing greats: Leo Messi."

– Ronaldinho Gaucho when receiving the 2005 Ballon d'Or

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#3 ‘I SPENT A LOT OF THE TIME JUST HOPING LIONEL MESSI WOULD TAKE UP POSITIONS AS FAR AWAY FROM ME AS POSSIBLE’

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"There have been so many superlatives to describe Lionel Messi’s career that you find yourself just adding to the pile of words about him. So these are some of the little things that you learn when you play against the man himself which you might not see on the television. First off, he never speaks on the pitch. In fact, I don’t think I ever heard him say a word. Second, you won’t believe how strong he is for a little man.

I am not ashamed to admit that in the games against Barcelona I spent a lot of the time just hoping Lionel Messi would take up positions as far away from me as possible."

– Paul Scholes recalls playing against Lionel Messi between 2008–2011

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#4 'THE STUDENT WHO WENT TO CLASS AND GOT BORED BECAUSE HE ALREADY KNEW EVERYTHING'

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Lionel Messi was like the student who went to class and got bored because he already knew everything.

We were so fortunate to have him with us at Barcelona, we tried to involve him in the game as much as possible. I've said it more than once: There were a lot of generational stars in that team but without him, we wouldn't have achieved as much. He was much more than the cherry on the top of the cake."

– Pep Guardiola on having Lionel Messi under his charge during his tenure as Barcelona manager

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#5 'IF YOU CONVINCE LIONEL MESSI HE CAN EVEN BE A BRILLIANT DEFENDER'

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"It wouldn’t be a problem to manage former team-mates. I know what Lionel Messi is like, and Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique.

Messi is a player who, if you convince him, he can even be a brilliant defender. He has physical and mental speed. He has everything.

And if you convince him to run, what will the others do? They will run twice as much!"

– Xavi Hernandez on the possibility of him managing Barcelona and Lionel Messi one day

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#6 'WE HAVEN’T HAD DINNER TOGETHER YET, BUT I HOPE IN THE FUTURE'

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Lionel Messi and I have shared the stage 15 years. I don't know if that's happened before—the same two guys on the same stage all the time.

Of course, we have a good relationship. We haven't had dinner together yet, but I hope in the future.

We had that battle in Spain. I pushed him and he pushed me as well. So it's good to be part of the history of football."

– Cristiano Ronaldo on his relationship with Lionel Messi at the 2019 UEFA Champions League draw

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