Messi is more difficult to defend against than Cristiano Ronaldo, says Levante's Ballesteros

The veteran centre-half was full of praise for the two stars of the Primera Division yet believes the Argentine is tougher to face due to his dribbling abilities

Levante defender Sergio Ballesteros has declared that he believes Lionel Messi is more difficult to play against than Cristiano Ronaldo.

The veteran centre-back is set to come up against the mercurial Argentine on Saturday evening when Barcelona visit the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia.

While admitting it was tough to choose between the two leading goal scorers in La Liga, the former Mallorca man did state it was Messi than he had more trouble with.

"Both play at great speed but perhaps Messi is more difficult because he has the ball stuck to his feet and you never know whether to hold off or go in [with a challenge]... he can always beat you," the defender told Sport.

Ballesteros was also keen to talk of how highly he rates the current Barcelona squad, stating: "In the history of the club there have been great teams and great players, but this side have won everything and are the world champions."

The 36-year-old then revealed his admiration for Xavi; a player he feels will go down as one of the best in Spanish football history.

"Of course [I rate] Messi but Xavi too. Along with Raul, he is the Spanish player that has been closest to winning the Golden Ball and both are examples of professionalism for their clubs."

Ballesteros is currently the third oldest outfield player in La Liga behind Mallorca's Jose Luis Marti and Racing's Pedro Munitis.

Levante currently sit in fifth place, only two points off Malaga who occupy the final Champions League spot.

Of course Messi, but Xavi. Along with Raul, the Spanish player who has been closer to the Golden Ball are both an example of professionalism with their clubs and selection

 both have a very high speed point, though perhaps with Messi is more difficult because the ball has hit the bottom so that you never know if you put up or GET WITH ... you always can make it. They are very destabilizing, but with different characteristics.