Berlin, June 4 (IANS) Italian club Juventus’ legendary footballer Alessandro Del Piero on Thursday said Spanish club FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi is the game’s “number one player” ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final between the two teams.
The Argentine forward scored 58 goals in all competitions for Barcelona so far in this term and Del Piero feels the 27-year-old is the best in the world.
“Messi is the number one. He has talent, instinct, passion and magic,” Del Piero was quoted as saying by Barcelona’s official website.
“Messi is part of football heritage and we’re so lucky that he’s living in our time and that we can enjoy watching him.”
The ex-Italy international, who played in the 2014 Indian Super League (ISL) for Delhi Dynamoes, was equally demonstrative in his praise of Juventus’ Andrea Pirlo and Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez, hailing the intelligence of the veteran midfielders.
“We’re talking about the Olympus of football, on the greatest level of intelligence. They are two unique parts of football history, real phenomena. It has been a pleasure to play with and against them,” he said.
Del Piero also had his say on Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri and Barcelona’s Luis Enrique, as the two coaches prepare their side for Saturday’s final in Berlin.
“Allegri took over a winning team and improved it without shaking things up too much. He did it gradually, by inserting his principles without losing confidence in his team. Juventus play serene, organised football now. They play good football, it�s very technical.�
“As for Luis Enrique, he�s also done an extraordinary job. The team has found brilliance and unity, with the guarantee of three great players up front who have complete freedom of expression, yet they always work for the good of the team,” the 40-year-old said.