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The former Liverpool man praised his compatriot's outstanding ability, insisting that he leaves teams for dead in his wake as his ambition to improve drives him forward

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has lauded team-mate Lionel Messi, labelling him "a killer" on the football pitch.

The Argentine attacker recently broke Gerd Muller's long-standing record for goals in a calendar year, and could top off his remarkable 2012 by picking his fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or.

The former Liverpool man believes his compatriot single-handedly dismantles teams as he strives to improve in every game in order to reach perfection.

"With regards to football, he is a killer. He takes to the pitch to collect victims. He likes to play football and does not care who is in front of him," the 28-year-old told Mundo Deportivo.

"He competes against himself. This is a great virtue and he has reached that level when is now more like a golfer than a footballer - every day he wants to lower the handicap."

Mascherano, however, had words of praise for the whole Barcelona team, insisting that the key behind the club's success is the inextinguishable desire of every member of the squad to play.

"The biggest weapon of this team is the desire to play football. People like Xavi, Messi and [Andres] Iniesta have passed on this attitude to the team and it is producing results."

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