Lionel Messi will be the best in football history: Kobe Bryant

Updated: Jul 24, 2012, 08:33 AM IST

Luis Mira/

Barcelona: Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has voiced his belief that Barcelona star Lionel Messi will become the best player in the history of football.

The 25-year-old became only the second player to win the Ballon d`Or for three years running in January, emulating Michel Platini`s feat in the eighties.

As the United States` Olympic basketball team prepares for Tuesday`s friendly contest against Spain in Barcelona, Bryant has reiterated that he is in awe of the Argentine prodigy`s talent.

"I hope that I will be able to see Messi, to tell him that I want him," he told reporters.

"He is prepared to be the best player in all history."

The five-time NBA champion then admitted that he is a big fan of Serie A football after spending part of his childhood in Italy.

"Diego Maradona was sensational, when I grew up in Italy, Serie A was the best," he added.

"Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Roberto Baggio, Paolo Maldini, Maradona at Napoli. Serie A was great."

Since making his Barcelona debut in 2004, Messi has won five Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, three Champions Leagues, and became the club`s all-time record goalscorer.