Erling Haaland isn't the only big name that considers Messi the greatest of all time

24 big names who have declared Messi the GOAT: Haaland, Hazard, Rooney…

Some of the biggest names in the sport have declared Lionel Messi as the GOAT – above Diego Maradona, Pele, and his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Having won eight Ballon d’Or, four Champions Leagues, 11 league titles and countless more trophies, there can be no argument that the Argentinian icon has secured his place in the annals of history – before well and truly sealing his legacy with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Here are 23 big names from the world of football that consider Messi to be the greatest of all time.

Erling Haaland

The Manchester City striker sounded fairly nonplussed when he was asked whether Messi will need to retire for him to claim the Ballon d’Or. But he sounded fairly relaxed about finishing runner-up to a player he considers the greatest in history.

“I don’t know, good question,” Haaland responded.

‘Yeah, it’s true he won it and he won the World Cup so I don’t know what to say.

“He is the best that has ever played I think so yeah, I don’t know.”

Eden Hazard

“Individually, Messi is perhaps the only one,” Hazard reflected in an interview with L’Equipe on which players were more talented than himself.

“I loved watching the Barcelona player, less so at the end, but he’s the greatest in history. It’s impossible to take the ball away from him. Cristiano is a bigger player than me but, in terms of pure football, I honestly don’t think so. Neymar, maybe. After that, he’s no better than me, but at Real, you’ve got the best, also in terms of their careers: Benzema, Modric, they were the best, Kroos, Kev’ (De Bruyne), they all exude football.”

Sergio Ramos

The legendary Spanish centre-half played hundreds of games alongside Cristiano Ronaldo but he considers his former PSG team-mate the greatest of all time.

“There was suffering for several years playing against Messi,” Ramos told PSG’s official channel.

“I am now enjoying him. He is the best player football has ever produced.”

Admirable burying of the hatchet after their many years as rivals in El Clasico…

READ: Five of Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi’s feistiest El Clasico clashes

Pep Guardiola

“He is the best player of all time. I compare him with Pele. I am so happy to see this football,” Guardiola said in 2015, after Messi’s Barcelona knocked Bayern Munich out of the Champions League en route to the treble.

Wayne Rooney

Luka Modric

“Hopefully (Messi) win this World Cup, he is the best player in history and he deserves it,” Modric told reporters, following Argentina’s 3-0 victory over Croatia in the semi-finals of Qatar 2022.

“He is having a great World Cup, he is showing his quality and greatness in every game.”


“Losing hurts me, it hurts me… it’s something I haven’t learned to live with yet. When I lost, I went to give a hug to the biggest and best in history that I saw playing,” the Brazilian wrote on social media after losing 1-0 to Messi’s Argentina in the 2021 Copa America final.

“My friend and brother MESSI, I was sad and I told him: ‘You beat me.’ I’m very sad for having lost. But this guy is awesome! I have great respect for what he has done for football and especially for me. I HATE TO LOSE!!!! But enjoy your title, football was waiting for you for that moment! CONGRATULATIONS BROTHER.”

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Arsene Wenger

The legendary Arsenal manager had already made up his mind when Messi was just 22 years old.

John Terry

James Maddison

Jesse Lingard

Jamie Carragher

Trent Alexander-Arnold

“Nothing needs to be said on that,” the Liverpool right-back told talkSPORT during the World Cup. 

“The best player ever. As he’s getting older, it’s still magic to watch him. He’s something that I don’t think I’ll ever see again. I’m just trying to enjoy every minute watching him.”

Andrew Robertson

“I sometimes play as a fan and not as a professional footballer, which is maybe my downfall at times,” Robertson reminisced in That Peter Crouch Podcast.

“Me and Fabinho were tracking Messi back and we both ended up on the ground and I just ruffled his hair a bit. He wasn’t too happy and it’s something I wouldn’t do again, that’s for sure.

“It’s disrespectful to the best player who’s ever played the game. That match, I’ve never seen a changing room so pumped up. I don’t know what came over me.

“I do regret it but it’s something everyone always mentions to me. I wasn’t thinking. In the Nou Camp in the first leg I thought I dealt with him as well as I could have but he still walked off with two goals in a 3-0 win and all everyone is talking about is Messi.”

LeBron James

Gary Lineker

“Never mind Messi’s goal scoring records. Never mind that Messi’s the best dribbler ever. Messi’s also the best passer the game’s ever seen,” Lineker tweeted back in 2015.

He evidently hasn’t changed his mind over the years.

Ilkay Gundogan

“Lionel Messi [is the best player in the world],” the Germany international told Goal.

“In my opinion, he has very special abilities. He has talent and he always manages to show it on the pitch. He always has the instinct to make the right decision.

“He uses his speed well against the opponents he plays. He has a strong finish. All in all, no one else has as much quality as Lionel Messi.

“He is the star player of my generation and the greatest footballer of all time. I hope we get to watch him play for a few more years.”

Frenkie de Jong

Declan Rice

“You know what, it is such a hard question because obviously what him and Cristiano Ronaldo have done is a freak of nature, nobody will ever do that ever again,” the England international said, speaking to Gary Neville on The Overlap.

“Messi, I just feel what he does with a football, he is just special, and I don’t think we will ever see a player like that ever again.”

Ander Herrera

“You are asking for 50 goals per season. From there, if he doesn’t score them, people talk,” Messi’s former team-mate at PSG told Spanish outlet AS.

“Nor should we forget that Leo has had the all-time record in Ligue 1 – he has hit the post 10 times! If he had scored 10 more goals, it would [have] been a very good season for Leo.

“But for me, he is the best of all time, without any discussion. Now I admire him even more for how he manages his day-to-day life with total humility, [and] always with a smile for people.”

Jan Oblak

“It is a difficult question, yes, but with Messi I have always said it. He is spectacular. He is at the highest level. For me he is the best,” Oblak told GOAL.

Rene Higuita

“Let’s value and enjoy Leo Messi… we don’t know how many centuries will have to pass to see another like him.”

Andy Murray

Beth Mead

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