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The boss of the Albiceleste congratulated the Barcelona star's European Golden Shoe triumph by admitting that he is privileged to have the forward available for selection

Alejandro Sabella has claimed that it is an honour to have the opportunity to coach Lionel Messi for Argentina.

The 25-year-old was crowned the 2012 recipient of the European Golden Shoe on Monday following his tally of 50 Liga goals for Barcelona last season, four clear of nearest rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fresh from receiving the award, his international coach paid tribute to his rise to the top and insisted the chance to be able to call on the forward in his plans for the Albiceleste was unique.

"He has shown great strength to be selected [by Argentina] at a very young age and force his way into the side. With support from his club [Barcelona] and his family, he has progressed.

"It is an honour to be the coach of Argentina and have the best player in the world [at your disposal]. The inner passion inside of him wants to help us win more."

Messi has been described by sections of the footballing world as the greatest player to have played the sport, thereby prompting comparisons with Brazilian great Pele and fellow Argentine Diego Maradona, but Sabella refused to be dragged into the debate.

"It would be irresponsible of me to make comparisons with Pele and [Diego] Maradona," he added. "[The three men] played in different eras. Maybe he is the best ever, but it would be pretentious of me to say so."

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