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Marco van Basten has laid into Lionel Messi and says the Argentine is not one of the top three players of all-time.
Messi has won a record seven Ballon d'Ors in his glittering, record-breaking career, as well as scoring over 800 goals for club and country.
The 34-year-old has performed at an incredible level for 15 years, changing the game with his output and performances on the big stage.
But for Van Basten, who won three Ballon d'Ors before injury led to early retirement at 28, Messi is not in his top three.
“Pele, [Diego] Maradona and [Johan] Cruyff are for me the three greatest players in history,” Van Basten told France Football, as per MARCA.
"As a kid I wanted to be like Cruyff. He was my friend. I miss him. Pele and Maradona were also incredible.
"Messi is also a great player, but Maradona always had more personality in a team. Messi is not the one who puts himself at the front to go to war."
Van Basten did also namecheck other legendary players who he thinks are among the best ever to play the game - specifically Cristiano Ronaldo, Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.
The Dutchman added: “I’m not forgetting Cristiano Ronaldo, [Michel] Platini or [Zinedine] Zidane."
Former Ajax manager Van Basten is known for not mincing his words and caused a stir earlier this year when he said fans would rather watch Netflix than watch Atletico Madrid play.
And despite his recent surprise comments on Messi, the AC Milan icon has gone on record to claim people who think Ronaldo is better than Messi "know nothing about football".
"Cristiano is a great player, but those who say he is better than Messi know nothing about football, or they are saying it in bad faith," he told Corriere dello Sport.
"Messi is one of a kind. Impossible to imitate and impossible to repeat. A player like him comes along every 50 or 100 years. As a kid, he fell into the football genius pot."
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