Xavi insisted Barcelona star Lionel Messi is the best player in the world, regardless of what Real Madrid foe Cristiano Ronaldo believes.

Ronaldo equalled Messi's Ballon d'Or record of five trophies after taking out the coveted individual accolade on December 7.

Madrid's all-time leading scorer labelled himself the "best player in history" following his record-equalling achievement.

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But former Barca midfielder Xavi said there is no doubt about Messi's superiority ahead of Saturday's Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Messi does more things compared to Cristiano. Messi is the best," Xavi told Catalunya Radio .

"If Cristiano considers himself the best player in history, that's fine, but those of us who see him train, there is no comparison.

"Messi is the best in history and we don't see it any other way."

Messi is enjoying another stellar season for Barca, his LaLiga-best 14 goals helping Ernesto Valverde's men to sit atop the standings.

The 30-year-old has scored 18 in all competitions, including three in the UEFA Champions League, where Barca will meet Chelsea in the last 16.

"I imagine all of the managers in the world going out to stop Messi," Xavi said. "Even if you do what Athletic Bilbao did, man-mark him like in the Copa del Rey final, they still come out on top. He can't be defended against.

"Messi is the difference-maker and we always tried to give the ball to him in space with time to unbalance them. Messi is the player that makes the most difference in the world. It's more than obvious."