Paris Saint-Germain star David Beckham believes Lionel Messi is the best player in the world - ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Barcelona star Messi and Ronaldo have been dominating the Spanish goalscoring charts over the past few seasons, and have been billed as the two best players of their generation. However, Beckham feels one stands head and shoulders above the rest.
"They have similarities in their technical skills and talent, and it is amazing for football to have them both present, but Messi is simply the best player in the world," Beckham told Argentine news agency Telam.
"He [Messi] is alone in his class as a player, it is impossible that there is another like him. He, like Cristiano Ronaldo, who is not at his level, are both above the rest."
The former England captain won the Champions League in 1999 with Manchester United, and joined PSG at the end of January after five years with LA Galaxy in the MLS. He also played for Ronaldo's club, Real Madrid.
Messi came off the bench to help Barca fight back for a 1-1 draw with PSG on Wednesday and reach the Champions League semi-finals for a sixth year in a row, where they have been drawn against Bayern Munich, with rivals Real Madrid set to face Borussia Dortmund in the other last-four encounter.
"We were leading before Messi came on, and once he came on, Barcelona scored," Beckham said. "Although I enjoy playing at this level at my age, I do not like to lose.
"Our team played well. In both matches we did things we should be proud of. We didn't lose against Barcelona, and that is something that should motivate us for next season."
Barcelona advanced on the away goals rule following a 2-2 draw in Paris in the first leg, with the contest finishing 3-3 on aggregate.
Messi, who had injured his hamstring a week earlier, was cleared to play only an hour before kick-off. He came off the bench in the 62nd minute with Barcelona losing 1-0 after Javier Pastore's opener, and the Argentinian took just nine minutes to start the decisive move that Pedro finished off to keep Barcelona in the hunt for their fourth Champions League title in eight seasons.