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The Croatia icon has defended the Argentine superstar after he missed out on winning both the 2014 Goal 50 and the World Cup.

Former Red Star Belgrade, Barcelona and Real Madrid midfielder Robert Prosinecki insists that Lionel Messi’s best days are not over - despite seeing his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo win the 2014 Goal 50.

Messi finished third in Goal’s annual list of the 50 greatest players from the past season, leading some to suggest that the Argentine’s career is on the way down and that he has been surpassed by Ronaldo.

MORE: Full Goal 50 list | Beautiful people in Brazil

“No, I don't agree that Ronaldo has overtaken Messi,” Prosinecki told Goal. “What would we have said if Messi’s shot in the World Cup final went in?

“I wouldn’t put Messi and Ronaldo in the same sentence. They are different types of players, playing in different positions.

"Ronaldo is fantastic, but I remember a better Ronaldo, the Brazilian one I used to play with."

Prosinecki shot to fame as part of Red Star Belgrade’s 1991 European Cup-winning side, before later playing for Real Madrid and Barcelona, and claiming third place at the 1998 World Cup with Croatia.

The retired midfielder also revealed that if there was one footballer from the current era he wished he could play with, it would be Messi.

“I would supply him a couple of better passes than those he receives from Xavi and Andres Iniesta,” Prosinecki joked. “Well, certainly better than the ones his teammates for Argentina serve him!

"I would also like to play alongside Luis Suarez because he can create a lot by himself. Hell of a player!”

Prosinecki’s former Croatia teammate Aljosa Asanovic also defended Messi and rubbished claims that he has missed his chance to overtake Diego Maradona after failing to win the World Cup in Brazil.

“All of a sudden Messi is worthless? Okay, he has not achieved what Maradona did with Argentina, but you must look at his teammates,” Asanovic told Goal.

“Messi only had Angel Di Maria. Maradona obviously had better team-mates because he won the World Cup.”

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