Ronald Koeman believes Lionel Messi is the best player in history and feels he has been the inspiration behind Barcelona’s glorious decade.
Barca have won seven La Liga titles since Messi made his debut in 2005, as well as four Champions Leagues, three Club World Cups and three Copa del Reys.
Club legend Koeman, who scored the winning goal in the 1992 European Cup final, has hailed the overall quality of Barca in recent years, but insists that things would have been different at Camp Nou if not for five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.
The Southampton manager told Sport: “You cannot look at Barcelona’s recent history without taking Messi’s performances on board.
“There is no denying that he has been key to their success. He has been leading them the way. He is the best of all time, there is no doubt about that. Everything would have been different for Barcelona without Messi.
“But let’s not forget about players like [Andres] Iniesta, Xavi, [Sergio] Busquets, [Victor] Valdes, [Gerard] Pique, [Carles] Puyol, Ronaldinho, [Samuel] Eto’o, and so on. Messi is the greatest, but he has always been surrounded by other great players.
“Neymar and Luis Suarez are two more big names. Their attack right now is amazing. Their attack was already very powerful with Messi, but it is unrivalled with Suarez and Neymar alongside him.
“Truth is that whenever Barcelona are at their usual level, they are unbeatable.”
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