Lionel Messi is “on another level”, says fellow Argentine Lautaro Martinez, with the Barcelona superstar considered to be “a step ahead of everyone else” in world football.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has shown that on a regular basis during a remarkable career at the very top of the game.
Since bursting onto the scene as a precociously-gifted teenager, Messi has gone on to become a record-setting all-time great.
Eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo is the only man to have got close to emulating his efforts, with the bar of individual brilliance being raised to heights that have never been seen before.
Lautaro forms part of Messi’s ever-growing fan club and considers the mercurial 33-year-old to be “the best player in the world”.
The 23-year-old hopes he can take important lessons from playing with a modern-day great at international level, with the Inter frontman aware that he is in the most fortunate of positions.
“I know Leo more from the times we've been team-mates for the Argentine national team rather than from having come up against him,” Lautaro told UEFA’s official website.
“I've said it in the past, and will say it again now and in the future: he’s the best player in the world.
“The fact he's Argentinian is a source of pride for us and we always try to learn from him.
“For me, he’s on another level – he understands the game in a different way and he’s always a step ahead of everyone else.”
Messi is not the only iconic Argentine that Lautaro is able to lean on for support as he seeks to establish a superstar standing of his own.
“Javier is a very important Inter man, and for us [players] as well because he passes down to us everything he’s experienced at this club,” added Lautaro, who was unable to prevent Inter from slipping to a 2-1 derby defeat against AC Milan in their latest outing.
“He did so to me when I first came to Italy. Whenever I've needed something, he’s always tried to help me.
“He always lends an ear and asks how I'm doing or gives me a hand with anything I might need. He's always there to make sure I'm alright inside the club and outside too.
“Above all, he helped me with the language when I arrived, with what the club meant and how we train.
“He was very important in those matters, so I'll always be grateful to him. He really helped me out when I got here.”