Former Real Madrid director Jorge Valdano has taken the time to praise Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi and feels that the 25-year-old's performances set him above the rest.
The Argentine netted twice in Barca's 4-1 win over Getafe at the weekend to take his tally for 2012 to 61, and the 56-year-old believes his compatriot is easily the best player in the world.
"Messi is a class apart from the rest if you ask me. There is nobody who's even close to the level at which he plays," Valdano was quoted as saying by El Heraldo.
The former Argentina star then went on to voice his opinion that Barcelona and Spain are the new benchmark in football, while also hailing Pep Guardiola.
"Barcelona and the Spanish national team are now the benchmarks in football. Having possession allows you to play great football.
"Barca had someone who has greatly innovated the game in Pep Guardiola."
Guardiola is currently enjoying a sabbatical after leaving Barca this summer.