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Paris Saint-Germain star David Beckham has declared Lionel Messi the best player in the world, saying rival Cristiano Ronaldo hasn't reached the level of the Barcelona superstar.
"They can have similarities in their technical skills and talent, and it is hallucinating for football to have them both present, but Messi is simply the best player in the world," Beckham told Telam.
"He [Messi] is alone in his class as a player, it is impossible that there is another like him," the 37-year-old midfielder added. "He, like Cristiano Ronaldo, who is not at his level, are both above the rest."
A former England captain, Beckham won the Champions League in 1999 with Manchester United. He joined PSG at the end of January after five years with the L.A. Galaxy in the MLS.
Messi came off the bench to lift Barcelona to a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain Wednesday and into the Champions League semifinals for a sixth year in a row. Barcelona will face Bayern Munich in the semifinals.
"We were leading before Messi came in, and once he came in, Barcelona scored," Beckham said. "Although I enjoy playing at this level at my age, I do not like to lose."
"Our team played well. In both matches we did things we should be proud of. We didn't lose against Barcelona, and that is something that should motivate us for the next season," he added.
Messi, who injured his hamstring a week earlier, was cleared to play only an hour before kickoff. He joined the fray in the 62nd minute with his team trailing, 1-0, after Javier Pastore's opener.
Nine minutes after, Messi started the decisive move that Pedro Rodriguez finished off to keep Barcelona