Unprecedented compliment? Winks says Messi ‘completed football’

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Many compliments have been paid to Lionel Messi during his years as a Barcelona superstar and world soccer icon, but few have phrased it the way one of his young English opponents did on Wednesday.

[ JPW: Messi’s Wembley masterclass ]

Harry Winks, 22, went 90 minutes in Spurs’ 4-2 loss to Barcelona at Wembley on Thursday, and suffice it to say he was impressed by Messi.

Winks called Messi “the greatest player to ever play,” though he admitted he was “gutted” to lose the match after Spurs fought valiantly without Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, and Jan Vertonghen (and with a clearly rusty Hugo Lloris).

And then he proffered this thought, via The London Evening Standard:

“The only way I can really describe [facing him] is he’s just completed football. The man just knows where everybody is. His weight of pass is just exceptional. He’s just special. But everyone who has played against him has said the same thing for years.”

For people like us who consider it an achievement to complete a difficult crossword puzzle, the idea of completing football is almost unfathomable but very well put by Winks.

Winks was called into the England squad on Thursday.