Vives, who spoke on behalf of Barcelona’s board of directors, made the claim in response to rival player Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments following his recent fifth Ballon d’Or win.
“Respect to the Ballon d’Or and to Cristiano Ronaldo,” Vives said at a press conference,
“We have always considered him a great player and a great competitor.
“But here at the Camp Nou, we can see the best player in history every 15 days, which is Messi.”
He also explained other decisions that were made at the club’s latest meeting.
Here’s an interesting yet pointless stat…
Lionel Messi is the only player to have scored a competitive goal for Argentina in 11 months.
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) October 10, 2017
Regarding Javier Mascherano’s decision to leave the club in January, Vives only had positive comments to add about the Argentinian defender.
“Mascherano has earned respect,” he indicated.
“As the coach said, after the January window, the club should come out stronger and not weaker.
“The general interest of the club is above the individual wishes of any of us, including the player.
“The player is listened to and taken into account.”
Vives also commented on the Champions League Round of 16 draw, in which the Catalan club were drawn against English side Chelsea.
“We had a 43% chance of being drawn against them and it happened,” he noted.
“It motivates us, they are a great rival.
“To win the Champions League, you have to beat big teams.”
Whilst he was visibly frustrated during the recent draw against his old team, Valencia, Alba was back to his best form against Villarreal and was full of praise for his on-field relationship with the star Argentinian.
The pair’s link-up play together has been something of a marvel, with several of his goals being directly assisted by Alba.
“Whenever I can, I look to Messi because he scores almost every time,” he explained in his post-match interview, as reported by ?Marca.
“Messi is the best in history and a very important player for the team. This is not just from a football perspective, but also a personal one.”
Barca struggled for most of the fixture to break down a strong-willed home defence, but Alba feels as though the three points his side took home were well deserved.
“We’re very happy, this result cost us a lot,” he admitted. “We have done a great job, especially in the second half.”
Villarreal were forced to play the final half hour with ten men, following Dani Raba’s poor challenge on Sergio Busquets prompting a straight red card, although Alba was reluctant to comment much on the incident.
“The dismissal can be interpreted in many different ways,” he confirmed. “It’s a hard decision. I can’t tell if it’s a yellow or a red.”
?FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has urged defender Sergi Roberto to commit his future to the La Liga giants, urging the Spanish full-back that ‘you have to retire here’.
Speaking to Barca TV and quoted by Spanish publication ?Sport, after Roberto won the Premi Barca Jugadors prize on Monday – which recognizes fair play – Bartomeu then called upon the 25-year-old to agree a new deal and remain in Catalonia for the remainder of his career.
Bartomeu said: “Roberto’s commitment to the club and to his teammates, his humility [they’re] all things that we really value.
“He will always be linked to our club. He has to remain here for many more year yet… [turned to Sergi] you have to retire at Barcelona because that would make us very happy.”
Having beaten the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Andres Iniesta, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi to the club’s award, Roberto took away the honour voted upon by a panel of 15 members.
La Blaugrana’s versatile right-sided player – who can play as full-back, wing-back or even right winger, has in previous seasons found filling the boots of Dani Alves at right-back a particularly tough task.
Having now been usurped by Nelson Semedo as Barca’s first-choice in that position, the Spanish defender faces a uphill task for regular game time in Barcelona.
Despite that, Roberto remains a fan and indeed club favourite having been part of the club’s remarkable 6-1 comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League earlier this year – scoring the dramatic stoppage-time decider.
Bartomeu is keen to now tie down Roberto to a new long-term deal, and the Barca head honcho himself keeps the memory of last March against Les Parisiens, as one of the fondest of his time in the boardroom.
“I have seen a lot of comebacks”, Bartomeu states, “but he allowed us to enjoy the mother of all comebacks!”
Philippe Coutinho will see out the season with Liverpool before considering a move to Barcelona in the summer, with the Reds unwilling to listen to offers from Catalonia in January, according to Spanish football expert
The Brazilian playmaker was heavily linked with a move to the Camp Nou over the summer. However, Liverpool flexed their muscles and forced Barcelona to look elsewhere in the transfer market, with the likes of Paulinho and Ousmane Dembélé joining the Blaugrana instead.
“It is absolutely necessary that they get one or two players in – one could be a centre back – if Mascherano leaves, which we will know soon. Mascherano wants to leave in January and he’s asking Barcelona to let him go so he can play regularly before the World Cup and he has a huge offer from China.”
For the seventh time in the competition’s history, Barcelona will take on Chelsea in the Champions League following the turn of the year after the match up was made on Monday afternoon.
The two European powerhouses will meet first at Stamford Bridge towards the back end of February before the Catalonians welcome the Premier League outfit to the Camp Nou in mid-March.
Having not crossed paths with the Blues since that infamous night in 2012, where Spaniard Fernando Torres took the visitors to the final, the upcoming clash will likely be one Barca see as an opportunity to finally level the scores and take revenge on the west Londoners.
So, following the mouthwatering draw being made, let’s take a look at three reasons why Barcelona should be confident going into their last-16 clash.
1. Current Form
Although the meeting between two of Europe’s elite is still some time away, current form has to be a strong guide into how this fixture could pan out.
So far this season, Barcelona have played on 23 separate occasions across all competitions and are yet to taste defeat – dropping points in just five of those outings.
They are without doubt the strongest side in La Liga this term, currently boasting a five-point buffer over second-place Valencia and an even bigger eight over Real Madrid, and walked through their Champions League group with ease – which included Juventus.
Chelsea on the other hand find themselves with an almost insurmountable 14-point deficit to make up on Manchester City in the Premier League and scraped through to the last-16 of this year’s competition thanks to a rather fortunate under-par Atletico Madrid.
The likelihood is that Barca will still find themselves rulers of the Spanish top flight when the two meet in February, and it would also be unsurprising to see the Blues still suffering from the inconsistency which looks to have cost them their championship crown.
2. History on Barcelona’s Side
Despite the last meeting between the two sides proving extremely difficult to swallow for the Catalonians, they will go head-to-head with Chelsea in possession of a stronger track record between the two sides.
Out of the previous six two-legged meetings, Barcelona have walked away victorious four times on aggregate, with arguably the most memorable their last-minute equaliser courtesy of an Andres Iniesta screamer in 2009 which sent them through to the final – a tournament they went on to win.
3. Chelsea’s Squad Depth an Issue
The mood around Stamford Bridge this season is much removed from last’s, with the Blues not enjoying the success on the field, nor displaying the performances which granted that success anywhere near regularly enough.
A main factor for this is the inclusion in this term’s Champions League – something the west Londoners did not have to factor into their minds’ last time around.
The increase in strain on a fairly thin squad has shown through ample times so far this term, no more so than Antonio Conte’s side’s 1-0 defeat to strugglers West Ham United on Saturday.
It is likely that following the extremely hectic English festive fixture list, coupled with both domestic competitions, as well as Europe, Chelsea will not find themselves in peak condition, something that will not affect Barca considering their comparatively free schedule.