Rome: Spanish football giants Barcelona defender Jordi Alba heaped praise on teammate Lionel Messi, stating that nobody else in the world comes close to the Argentine, including Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo scored five goals in a stunning performance as Real Madrid beat Espanyol 6-0 on Saturday in La Liga, and followed it up with a hat-trick in the club's 4-0 Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk but Alba is certain he is playing with the best player around.
"If we are realistic and forget team loyalties, you cannot compare Messi with any other player. The best in the world is Leo Messi," Alba was quoted as saying by goal.com on Tuesday.
"Ronaldo is a fantastic player, he scores a lot of goals and is really complete, but what Messi does nobody else can or ever will do. When Leo is on the field, everything turns in favour of Barca. He is five steps above the rest," he said.
Speaking ahead of Barcelona's Champions League clash against AS Roma, the 26-year-old was reluctant to draw any conclusions from Barca's 3-0 pre-season win over Roma or the Serie A side's humbling 7-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in last season's competition ahead of the clash.
"That was a presentation friendly and has nothing to do with this match. Roma will have different motivation, are playing in front of their fans and we must try to impose our style of football on the game," he said.
"I doubt the Bayern Munich match will affect them, as it is in the past now. Barcelona also suffered painful defeats only to get back on our feet, that is football. The past is in the past," Alba said.