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Even now, at 33-years-old, the Argentine forward practically carries the Argentina and Barcelona teams, who aren't exactly full of terrible players.
So, when Barcelona fans voted for their best ever player recently, you would have expected the six-time Ballon d'Or winner to come out on top, right?
Apparently not. When fan poll site Ranker put the question to supporters, Messi failed to make top spot, instead sitting in a solid second place - although it is still possible the forward could make a push for first as the poll has no end date.
Throwback to when Messi single handedly threw Arsenal out of the champions League pic.twitter.com/YSLjTeNWbZ- :flag_nl: (@MFKraan) March 28, 2021
The midfielder is being beaten to the title by mid-90s ace and member of Johann Cruyff's 'dream team', Hristo Stoichkov. At the time of writing, Stoichkov has over 14,000 votes to Messi's 5,260.
The Bulgarian is regularly touted as one of the best players of his era, and helped the Blaugrana to win four consecutive La Liga trophies from 1991-1994, as well as the European Cup in 1992. He also picked up a Ballon d'Or while a Barcelona player in 1994.
Stoichkov was undoubtedly a great player, but better than Messi? We're not too sure.
Almost 14,000 people have taken part in the poll, with other famous Barcelona heroes filling out the top ten. Johann Cruyff, Xavi, Ronaldinho, and Romario are among the names to have impressed fans in Catalonia over the years.
Notable names outside of the top ten include current manager Ronal Koeman, and somehow current goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen sneaking into the top 20.
Top 20 Barcelona players of all time, according to Ranker:
1. Hristo Stoichkov
2. Lionel Messi
3. Johann Cruyff
5. Andres Iniesta
7. Carles Puyol
11. Ronald Koeman
12. Samuel Eto'o
13. Diego Maradona
14. Thierry Henry
15. Luis Suarez
16. Daniel Alves
17. Javier Mascherano
18. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
19. Pep Guardiola
20. Sergio Busquets
What do you reckon? Should Messi be top? Or is there even another player who could have that honour?
Topics: Xavi, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Ronaldinho, News, Football, Pep Guardiola, Rivaldo, Barcelona, Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, Andres Iniesta, Barcelona news, Ronald Koeman
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