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Busquets: Messi is the best player in the World

01:01 SAST 2018/12/09
Lionel Messi Barcelona La Liga 08122018
The Barcelona midfielder feels a sublime display against Catalan rivals Espanyol showed why his team-mate is the world's best player

Lionel Messi demonstrated he is the best player in the world by demolishing Espanyol, according to Barcelona team-mate Sergio Busquets.

Messi scored two free-kicks as Barca won the Catalan derby 4-0 at RCDE Stadium, the first time he has achieved the set-piece feat in a La Liga game.

The Barca captain also produced a moment of magic to set up Ousmane Dembele for a fine finish on the day he became the first La Liga player to score at least 10 league goals in 13 consecutive seasons.

A record-smashing performance in the derby came just five days after Messi was placed fifth in the voting for the Ballon d'Or, the first time he has finished outside the top three since 2006.

Messi has won the award five times in a glittering career but was overlooked at Monday's ceremony with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and winner Luka Modric all receiving more votes.

And Busquets is in no doubt where Messi ranks among the elite. 

"We already know what Leo is capable of and it's a pleasure to see him on a daily basis," Busquets said to Movistar.  

"The level of effectiveness he has in training and matches is tremendous.

"He is fundamental in free-kicks, in open play, that's why he's the best player in the world."

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde described Messi finishing fifth as "absurd" earlier in the week and on Saturday said it was "striking" that any vote on the best in the world would not include his star man. 

"It's something that he should answer but he already has a lot of recognition," the manager said when asked about Messi's fifth-place finish. "But it is striking that they vote for the best and he is not there."

Barcelona, who have already wrapped up their place as Champions League Group B winners, face Tottenham in a cruch clash for the Premier League side on Tuesday, but Valverde is not sure if he will risk Messi for the group finale. 

"We will see on Tuesday," he said. "We respect the competition and we want to win the game and we will do the lineup thinking about the needs of Barcelona, not Inter, thinking about winning."