Rio de Janeiro: Former France captain and footballing legend Marcel Desailly paid tribute to Argentina and FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi, who scored 91 goals in 2012, beating Gerd Muller`s all-time record of 85 which dates back to 1972.
Desailly said: "Lionel Messi is just extraordinary, a phenomenon. Many footballers have great seasons but he just keeps producing them year after year. His opponents know how dangerous he is but they just cannot find a way to stop him scoring. He is without doubt the greatest player of this generation and as a goalscorer one of the greatest players of all time."
"And we should remember that he has achieved all this by the time he is 25. Who knows what he can achieve by the time he stops playing. Even now, I would put him in the same class as di Stefano, Cruyff, Maradona and Pele," added Desailly.
In the most prolific year of his career, Messi also overtook the great Pele, who scored 75 goals in 1958, also becoming the first man to be named FIFA World Footballer of the Year four times.
First Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 20:08