Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi says it is an honour to be compared to Pele and Diego Maradona.
The Argentina international is on course to lift the Ballon d’Or for a fourth consecutive year and has received plaudits for a spectacular 12 months for club and country.
However, the Barcelona man, who needs one more goal to equal Gerd Mueller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year, says he does not judge himself by the standards set by other players.
“I am honoured to be compared to both (Pele and Maradona),” he told Voetbal International.
“But mostly I try to be better for me and for the team, not to surpass others.”
Messi scored twice in Barca’s 5-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday to seal a record breaking start to the campaign for the club in La Liga.
He spoke about his hunger to make up for the disappointment of the previous campaign, when Barcelona missed out on both the La Liga title and Champions League glory.
“I do not know what went wrong last season. But we will try our utmost to make sure it does not happen again and make sure we are hungry for more,” Messi said.
The 25-year-old has often enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Cesc Fabregas in attack and he says they have a good understanding on and off the pitch.
“Cesc and I get on really well, we always know what each other wants. He is so easy to play with,” Messi said.
“I think we both know the type of game the club wants to play.”