Carles Puyol believes Lionel Messi can continue to improve, as the Argentina superstar gets set to surpass the former Barcelona captain for appearances at the club.
Messi is level with Puyol on 593 and is poised to move on to 594 when Barca welcome Las Palmas to Camp Nou on Sunday.
A five-time Ballon d’Or winner who has eight LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies to his name, Messi has little left to achieve at Barca.
And, while he has agreed a new contract at the club, the deal has yet to be made official, amid rumoured dissatisfaction at Barca following Neymar’s world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain.
There has even been talk of the 30-year-old Messi potentially leaving Barca, but Puyol is hopeful he will remain in Catalonia for some time yet.
“Leo is going very fast. I hope that he plays 500 more matches for the good of football and if it can be in Barcelona that would be even better,” Puyol told Mundo Deportivo.
“He is very complete, dominates many facets of the game and is sure to continue to grow and contribute more.
“He has won everything, is for me the best in history, and to continue with this desire to improve and to win is priceless.
“I think 28-30 years is the best age for a footballer because you are mature, you understand the game better, you know what you want, you know how to take care of yourself, and so I think we have many years of Leo Messi.”
Barca are unbeaten in LaLiga and the Champions League this season and Puyol has been impressed with Ernesto Valverde’s men.
Asked how he views Barca this campaign: “I see them very well and they are winning everything.
“The result is important but I also see the team well, eager, with good attitude and that is what is important.”
Xavi holds the Barca appearance record with 767.
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