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The versatile midfielder has nothing but praise for his compatriot, while insisting that the Copa del Rey tie against Cordoba is not over yet

Javier Mascherano feels that Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi is the best player the world has ever seen following his goalscoring exploits in 2012.

Messi broke Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 85 goals in one calendar year in the Liga match against Betis at the weekend, and added two more strikes to his tally in the 2-0 Copa del Rey win over Cordoba on Wednesday.

"Messi is unique, he’s the best player in the history of the sport. The numbers say so," Mascherano was quoted as saying on the club's official website.

"We’re talking about 88 goals as if it were normal - what he’s done is incredible. Messi has been touched by a magic wand."

Mascherano also briefly discussed the Blaugrana's win over Cordoba, and stressed that the Copa del Rey tie is not over just yet.

"We have a good result but we still have to play at home. Cordoba pushed us to the limit. They were brave and they pressured us a lot."

The second leg takes place at Camp Nou on January 10.

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