Javier Mascherano has voiced his admiration for Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi and believes his countryman is the best of his generation by a distance.
Messi was awarded the Golden Ball earlier this month after guiding Argentina to the World Cup final - which they lost 1-0 to Germany after extra-time - and Mascherano has stressed that the prolific attacker fully deserved the prestigious individual award, after some argued that he had not done enough in the knockout stages of the competition to merit the prize.
"Lionel Messi is a player from another planet. He is the best of this generation... by a mile," Mascherano told Times of India.
"I never had any doubt about it since I saw him in training and in actual games, both for our club Barcelona and the national team.
"Things he does in training sessions make you feel so joyous. So, there was no question of Leo losing the race [for the World Cup Golden Ball]."
Mascherano then went on to say that Argentina have lacked luck at major tournaments in recent years, but the star is refusing to give up on his dream of winning silverware with his national side.
"I really do not know what's going wrong for Argentina, but I think in big tournaments luck has not been on our side," he added. "We gave everything we had on the pitch, but that was not enough.
"Life does not stay still. We have to move on despite the grief. We are thankful to our fans who supported us wholeheartedly and came to watch us in the final. We are really sorry for them.
"But we know we have a good side with plenty of youngsters coming up to claim their places in the team. We will move on."