By Paul Brown
Ashley Young hailed mesmeric Lionel Messi as the best player on the planet.
Young admits he's glued to the television screen whenever the ace midfielder is playing - and generally wowing the football world with scintillating performances.
He said: "I have always said he's the best player in the world - and he proves it every week.
"There's a lot of comparison between him and Cristiano Ronaldo but I'd definitely say Messi is the best.
"When you watch him, you're just mesmerised by everything he does. He's just a fantastic world-class player.
"I think the only thing he hasn't won is the World Cup with Argentina. Even putting that aside, no-one can argue that he's the best player on the planet.
"I try to watch him as much as possible, whenever Barcelona are on really.
"People will talk about the positives of his game but the fact is I don't think there's any negatives at all.
"He's got everything. He can score, set up chances, pass, dribble - I have even seen him score headers - and people would say for his size that might be a weak point but it's not.
"Everything about his game brings so much to the team. But their whole team is full of world-class players."
Young believes Messi is also setting an example to anyone who isn't of stunning size on the football pitch - with his slight frame proving no obstacle in a career already glittering with honours.
He continued: "He's so slight, but if you look at the way he plays football, he's the best.
"If anyone tells me he needs to be bigger and taller they're talking rubbish. I'm not the biggest now, but I was really small up until about 19. I'm 11 stone.
"There were times when people said about my height and my weight, saying he's too slight he'll never make it. But if you've got a footballing brain you don't have to be big or tall to play football on the pitch because you know what you're doing.
"I've used my own ability. I know I'm not going to be the biggest or able to push people off, but I'll be able to use my feet."
Young admits watching Messi play is a real privilege.
He added: "He's definitely a player to look up to. I've been doing that for many a year.
"It's always nice to watch him on such a big stage. He makes football and playing look so easy.
"Fans obviously come and watch Villa but when I watch Barcelona I'm like a fan watching such a world-class player, seeing that ability on show. I'm 100 per cent a fan of Messi."
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