Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has hailed Luis Enrique’s Barcelona as an unbeatable team as they prepare to play Arsenal.
Barcelona are looking to retain the UCL for the first time ever and currently lead the La Liga by eight points.
And Koeman believes Messi has been an integral part of the squad that has seven league titles, four UCL titles, three club world cups and three copa del reys.
Club legend Koeman, who scored the winning goal in the 1992 European Cup final, has hailed the overall quality of Barca in recent years, but insists that things would have been different at Camp Nou if not for five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.
“You cannot look at Barcelona’s recent history without taking Messi’s performances on board,” he told Sport.
“There is no denying that he has been key to their success. He has been leading them the way. He is the best of all time, there is no doubt about that. Everything would have been different for Barcelona without Messi.
“But let’s not forget about players like [Andres] Iniesta, Xavi, [Sergio] Busquets, [Victor] Valdes, [Gerard] Pique, [Carles] Puyol, Ronaldinho, [Samuel] Eto’o, and so on. Messi is the greatest, but he has always been surrounded by other great players.
“Neymar and Luis Suarez are two more big names. Their attack right now is amazing. Their attack was already very powerful with Messi, but it is unrivalled with Suarez and Neymar alongside him.
“Truth is that whenever Barcelona are at their usual level, they are unbeatable.”