Lionel Messi sits “above all other footballers by a huge margin”, according to Barcelona team-mate Jordi Alba, with the Argentine superstar “even better than before”.

Lionel Messi sits “above all other footballers by a huge margin”, according to Barcelona team-mate Jordi Alba, with the Argentine superstar “even better than before”.

Seeking continuous improvement is no easy feat for a man who has sat at the top of the global game for well over a decade.

With countless records having tumbled around him, a man who has reached 600 career goals for Barcelona has little left to achieve.

Despite his success, though, Messi has succeeded in maintaining his remarkable standards and remaining a talismanic presence at Camp Nou.

The 40-goal mark has been passed for a 10th successive season, with the Blaugrana chasing down another La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble.

A five-time Ballon d’Or winner has led that charge, putting him ahead of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for a sixth Golden Ball, and Alba believes the 31-year-old is getting better with age.

A full-back who has enjoyed considered success alongside Messi in Catalunya told France Football of a superstar colleague: “For me, Leo hasn’t changed. Our relationship has always been the same, he is very good.

“We have been playing together for seven years. He has made me a better footballer

“As for his game, he’s even better than before, which could seem impossible because he was already the best in the world!

“He is above all other footballers by a huge margin.”

Messi’s exploits continue to see him showered with praise, with there no sign of a mercurial talent slowing down.

The standards he sets help to inspire those around him, with everybody at Camp Nou pulling in the same direction.

A club captain may be the undoubted leader, but he is assisted by a star-studded supporting cast.

Alba, who has contributed a number of assists to Messi down the years, forms part of that group.

He has also moved into his 30s this season, but there is a desire on his part to emulate Messi and make the most of every day he gets to spend at an iconic club.

“I like making jokes and setting the mood in the locker room,” Alba said of his role in the Barca squad.

“That’s important when you know that you spend a lot of time together. It makes everyday life more fun and enjoyable.

“The core of the team has been there for quite a few years now and I am one of the oldest. I grew up a lot at this club.”

Messi, Alba and Barcelona will be back in action on Tuesday when they take in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final clash with Liverpool that they currently lead 3-0 on aggregate.

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