Mascherano explains why Messi is on a different level

Former Argentina captain Mascherano played with Messi for eight years at Barcelona, winning 19 trophies in that time, including two UCL and La Liga titles.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi   -  Michael Steele/Getty Images

Lionel Messi is above every other player in the world because he makes the right decision at the right moment practically without fail, according to Javier Mascherano.

Former Argentina captain Mascherano played with Messi for eight years at Barcelona, winning 19 trophies in that time, including five La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues and two Club World Cups.

He was also an international team-mate of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner until he stepped away from representing his country in 2018.

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Now at Estudiantes de La Plata, Mascherano remains in awe of Messi, saying the Barca star can dictate matches to his own tempo in a way few others can hope to do.

He told radio programme Cielosports: "The majority of good players make good decisions, but they don't execute them in the best way, or vice versa – the execution is good, but it doesn't end up being the best decision.

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"What makes the difference in football is decision-making and execution, and Leo does both things well, and at an incredible speed, and that's why he's different.

"Normally, the game dominates us and takes you with it, but in Leo's case it's the other way around: he decides what to do or what not to do with the game.

"He knows how to save his strength and that allows him, during a match, to have seven, eight or 10 important actions at 100 per cent. That's how he can dominate the game."

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