Messi is a legend, says Sabella

Updated: Mar 22, 2013, 12:56 PM IST

Madrid: Alejandro Sabella has described Lionel Messi as a "legend" and praised his incredible development into a "global star".

In a press conference ahead of the Albiceleste`s World Cup 2014 qualifier against Venezuela, Sabella showered praise on the Barcelona forward and what he has achieved in his career so far.

“Messi is a legend in football. What he has done in recent years has been impressive and he is now a major global star."

Argentina are currently enjoying a great run of form which has seen them climb up to third in the Fifa world rankings, and they have not lost a qualifying match since October 2011.

Sabella’s men are currently top of their South American group with 20 points, but the 58-year-old is wary of Venezuela, who were the side to inflict that last qualifying defeat on his team 17 months ago.

He added: "Venezuela have improved a lot, they have a great coach and are very compact. They have a very respectable team and a lot of their players play abroad.

"We have guarded optimism. You have to respect the opponent."