I'm rapidly approaching my half century and I have seen a lot of top footballers in my time. I marvelled at the skills of Johan Cruyff and Pele in the 70s, watched open-jawed at the dribbling ability of Maradona in the 1986 World Cup.
Michael Platini bedazzled me with his sublime passing and movement while Paul Gascoigne, for a while, along with George Best, could also be classed as a world class from these shores. Yet, if you moulded all those players into one, they still wouldn't trump Lionel Messi.
Superlatives have dried up to describe the 24-year-old. His goal that sealed the game for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid on Sunday (please find it on You Tube) should have already clinched Goal of the Season in La Liga. It takes a lot, and thankfully I was on my own, for me to stand up and applaud.
Incredibly, some sections of the media have suggested that the Argentinian can't be described as the best ever until his National side win a major event. Utter nonsense. Messi has unbelievable close control, dribbling ability and can finish with the coolness of an asssasin.
In the big games Messi has also delivered. That's more than can be said about his current rival for best footballer on the planet, Ronaldo. The Real Madrid striker has scored more goals in La Liga but has gone missing in the important games.
Real Madrid will win the title this season as their squad has more depth than Barcelona and are likely to dominant the Spanish Premier Division for the next few years as Barcelona bed in their youngsters to take over eventually from the old guard of Alves, Xavi, Puyol and co.
Messi, voted FIFA’s Ballon d'Or for the past three years, will be around for the new era and has the time to rewrite the record books to a level never to be surpassed. The greatest ever? I'll let you decide