Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi claims to have no interest in being considered “the best in history”, with no motivation taken from a personal battle with Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Over the course of a distinguished career, the mercurial Argentina has edged his way up the pecking order of all-time greats.
Many consider him to have reached the very top of that chart, with few players able to match his achievements – with a remarkable roll of honour including nine La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns, five Ballons d’Or and 552 goals for Barca.
Messi has, however, remained humble and a team player throughout his record-breaking exploits and maintains that he has never set out to secure individual accolades and plaudits.
He told TyC Sports: “I’m not interested in being the best in history.
“I have never suggested that: not being the first, nor the second, third or fourth.
“Every time I start a season I try to improve myself, win everything, leave everything every time I go out to the pitch, give the maximum for my teammates and for myself.
“It does not change anything to be the best in history.”
Much of Messi’s career has been spent competing with Ronaldo for the title of world’s best, with the pair having enjoyed a decade of dominance at the top of the game.
Both men have been able to take their game to new heights while competing on opposite sides of a Clasico divide, with those standards then maintained at a level few others can match.
Messi, though, has always insisted that he does not consider himself to be in a professional duel with Ronaldo, with his drive coming from within.
He added: “I always want to improve myself and I do not compete with anyone because I do not play to be the best in history but to improve myself year after year and to keep winning.”
Pressed further on what he still hopes to achieve in an endless pursuit of perfection, Messi added: “Obviously winning with the national team would be the best because nothing has been given to us.”
Messi has already helped Barca to a Liga and Copa del Rey double this season, with his sights now being set on international honours with Argentina at World Cup 2018 in Russia.