Atletico Madrid full-back Filipe Luis championed Lionel Messi as he gets set to go head-to-head with the Barcelona star on Saturday, declaring his belief that the Argentina superstar could take a "mediocre team" to LaLiga title success.
Messi has been in irresistible form so far this season for Barca, scoring 11 league goals in seven matches as the Catalan giants have taken control at the top of the table.
The 30-year-old provided another timely reminder of his immense ability during the international break, netting a hat-trick as Argentina crucially beat Ecuador 3-1 to avoid an embarrassing failure to qualify for the World Cup.
And Filipe Luis accepts he will likely have to play the "butcher" role again to stop Messi when Barca visit the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, as there is no other way to halt the forward.
He told El Mundo: "Messi is so good that he could win the league with only a mediocre team, which is not the case [with Barca].
"Barca have the ability to create constant internal problems. They seem to like that, but Messi is so good, so good. He sustains them no matter what happens around him.
"When Messi or Cristiano [Ronaldo] get 50 goals, people think that the defences are bad, but when they are not there, there are no other goals and we are the same defences. It is very difficult for all of us and very easy for them. It's another level.
"I have played more than 30 games against him and I play the part of the butcher, because, and I'm being totally sincere, it is impossible to stop Messi one-on-one without fouling him.
"If Messi faces me with the ball and I am alone, without fail I will grab him or something. I have to play with other weapons.
"I have to make things uncomfortable for him because if he feels comfortable, you're dead."
Filipe Luis is used to coming into contact with the world's best players and is a team-mate of Neymar at international level with Brazil.
Neymar stole the headlines in the close-season as he secured a world-record €222million move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, a figure that Filipe Luis believes is understandable.
"Neymar is worth that money," he added. "It is his price. He is the third, equal-second, best in the world.
"Whenever he is told that something is impossible, he goes and achieves it. He loves challenges.
"He has broken the market and that should add enormous pressure, but he does not feel it. He's a guy who lives in his world and enjoys these things a lot.
"I know that amount sounds crazy, but it is good that money is paid for players because it shows that a player can generate that value. Football generates more money than people believe."
16 de diciembre 2017
|Smith shines as Australia pass 300 in Perth|
|Tevez nearing Boca Juniors return|
|Rangers acquire Moore from Giants|
|Ronaldo? I was better, says Gremio coach Renato|
|Pique: I understood why Neymar left Barca for PSG|
|Celtics´ Hayward open to returning this season|
|Klopp: We´re all fighting for second place|
|Every player has a price – Mourinho hints at January exits|
|Good question! Guardiola ducks Sanchez link and lauds Walker|
15 de diciembre 2017
|Six-try Ulster see off Harlequins|
|Guardiola addresses Mourinho´s tactical foul claims|
|Call the doctor! Conte protests no malice in David Luiz absence|
|Joy for Newcastle on a historic night for referee Neville|
|Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wolves 1: Brilliant Neves fires leaders seven clear|
|Premier League title City´s to lose, but Sterling wary of United charge|
|Barcelona´s Deulofeu a Clasico doubt after training injury|
|Bills QB Taylor to start v Dolphins|
|O´Mahony and Furlong sign new IRFU contracts|
|Salah ´is a player I rate a lot´, says Zidane|
|Allardyce lauds ´invaluable´ Rooney|
|Ramos fit for Club World Cup final|
|Lille sack Bielsa to end failed experiment|
|Manchester United job like Real Madrid, says Mourinho|
|Fernandinho is much better than I was, Guardiola claims|
|That Harry Kane team? – I´m over Guardiola dig, says Pochettino|
|Tuilagi and Toomua return to Leicester line-up|
|Mourinho open to January moves as Griezmann rumours swirl|
|Berizzo set for Sevilla return after cancer surgery|
|Malinga left out of Sri Lanka´s T20 squad|
|Manchester City will not go unbeaten in Premier League - Guardiola|
|Man City are the best – Pochettino braced for Spurs´ toughest test|
|Kristaps Porzingis injury update: Knicks big man says knee ´shouldn´t´ be bad|
|Conte hopeful over David Luiz´s ´serious´ knee injury|
|Neymar not an injury risk after Brazil trip - Emery|
|Bailly to miss three months due to ankle surgery|
|Klopp defends Liverpool rotation policy|
|Arsenal fan Prince Harry´s wedding day to clash with FA Cup final|
|He´s one of the best – Simeone showers Oblak with praise|
|Juventus won´t sell in-demand Pjaca, agent claims|
|Bolasie in line for Everton return after long-term injury|
|Bedene to switch back from Britain to Slovenia|
|Maradona told Real Madrid to sign Mbappe|
|Samuels out of NZ tour, Narine to miss T20s|
|Sydney FC 3 Melbourne City 1: Champions come from behind to go eight points clear|
|Red-hot Salah wins Player of the Month|
|Heynckes unaware of reported Sanches loan termination|
|Maradona: I´d have won more Ballons d´Or than Ronaldo and Messi|
|Khawaja pleased to restore parity in Perth|
|Bairstow enjoys playful celebration of crucial century|
|The Ashes Round-up: Smith leading by example again|
|Wenger confirms Wilshere contract talks imminent|
|Sensational Smith leads Australia fightback|
|We´ve never been approached by Man United – Wenger rejects Ozil reports|
|Joshua ´absolutely´ capable of unification, says Klitschko|
|Mathews fit for India-Sri Lanka series decider|
|Lewandowski demands focus ahead of Christmas|
|Fury not rushing back to take on Joshua|
|Klopp right to rotate at Liverpool – Neville|
|Overton strikes twice for England in Perth|
|LeBron´s 59th triple-double leads Cavaliers past Lakers|
|Jets offensive coordinator admits surrender in blowout loss to Broncos|
|Osweiler helps Broncos past Colts|
|England collapse to be all out for 403 in Perth|
|Donnarumma plays down Milan exit rumours|
|Barkley could leave in January – Allardyce|
|Siemian suffers shoulder injury, Osweiler in for Broncos|
|Pulisic voted youngest-ever male USA player of the year|
|Griezmann will be allowed to leave – Simeone|
|Steelers LB Shazier has begun rehabilitation process|
|Guardiola appears to aim another dig at Mourinho|