The New York City FC forward has backed his former team-mate – and Barcelona’s new boss Luis Enrique – to silence the doubters
Former Barcelona striker David Villa believes Lionel Messi will be remembered as the greatest player of all time and that boss Luis Enrique will succeed because he understands how the “complicated” club works.
Villa is holidaying back in Spain ahead of the 2015 MLS season, where he will play for New York City FC. He spoke at an Audi event in Gijon and was asked about his former club’s season and the form of Messi, who is on the three-man shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, which will be awarded on January 12.
Villa insisted that the Argentine remains the greatest player of all time, even if Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid is favourite for the award.
“I’ve spoken about [Messi] for a long time and I will continue to speak about him,” Villa said. “For me, the best player in the world is Lionel Messi, whether he scores the most goals or not, because I have never seen anyone do what he does on the football pitch. I think he is the best in history because he is so unique and I’ve not seen anyone that can equal him.
“As for the (Ballon d’Or) criteria, I’m not really sure how it works. Sometimes it’s a World Cup year, sometimes it isn’t. Let them vote. For me, there is no doubt as to who is the best, year after year.”
Messi, who led Argentina to the World Cup final, is widely expected to miss out to Ronaldo in January’s Ballon d’Or. In part that could be attributed to the fact that Barcelona have not won a major trophy since the 2012-13 Liga title, while Real Madrid have claimed the Champions League and Copa del Rey.
Former Barca player Luis Enrique was appointed coach this summer and, while he has endured a mixed start to life in the Camp Nou dugout, Villa feels his fellow Asturian will prove successful.
“He is ready for this, definitely, totally, because of everything he learned as a player, everything he knows about his club, and everything he has learned as a coach afterwards,” he added.
“It’s a complicated club, because the big clubs and their coaches are studied every day. But the people at Barcelona love him, he loves Barca, he has what it takes to be a coach, he has the players on the pitch and, at the end, I am sure he will have a great year.”