Cruyff: Xavi, not Messi, is world’s best
Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff has claimed that Xavi is the best player in the world, ahead of his team-mate Lionel Messi, who he has billed as the “most spectacular”.
Messi has been the toast of world football after his third straight Ballon d’Or win this year but Cruyff, who himself has been recognised as the finest footballer of his generation, feels that Xavi’s playmaking skills are too easily overlooked.
Speaking after his appointment as advisor at Mexican club Chivas, Cruyff acknowledged that it’s impossible to have a cast-iron definition of a best footballer before going on to praise both Messi and Xavi.
“The best player in the world does not exist because there are many different positions,” Cruyff told ESPN.
“There are spectacular players like Messi. But if you see a guy like Xavi, who controls the ball and manages the pace of the game, he is also a great player, but totally different from Messi.
“It is very hard to tell who is the best. [In my eyes,] the most spectacular is Messi, but the best is Xavi.”
Cruyff then explained that the prospect of replicating his success at Ajax and Barcelona were the main reasons to join the Mexican side, whose focus is on developing the local football scene.
“Everybody always say no, but this only motivates me. This team reminds me of the Ajax of old and La Masia. They are the factors that motivate me to work here.”
Chivas kicked off life under Cruyff with a 2-1 win over Santos Laguna on Monday, their first victory in the new Clausura campaign.