Lionel Messi is one of the greatest sportspeople of all time.
Ok, most obvious statement of all time, I know, but it's never been more important to celebrate the Barcelona superstar as he enters what will surely be the final years of his career.
It's been remarkable to see the Argentine wizard display his talents on the international stage for the past 15 years and the day he decides to hang up his boots will be incredibly sad for everyone.
Ronaldo vs Messi
It will also, one way or another, conclude his eternal debate with Cristiano Ronaldo who also has a pretty strong claim at being the greatest footballer to have ever lived.
We mention the Juventus icon because it just happens that comparisons between him and Messi seem to bring up a misconception about the latter.
Ronaldo is often referred to as the ultimate footballing machine and even some fans who think Messi is the greatest of time will happily admit that 'CR7' is the more complete player.
Messi: A complete footballer
Now, that is an entire can of worms for a different day, but that line of argument can often have the undesired effect of taking credit away from Messi when he shows himself to be 'complete'.
You know, perhaps his heading and weak foot is dismissed immediately just because they don't compare to Ronaldo, which is the frankly the most complimentary insult ever.
But one area in which Messi is particularly underrated is his defensive qualities and so much so that former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola named him as the world's best defender in 2013.
Messi's defensive quality
"Messi wins the ball playing as the false No.9. If you put him at left-back, he would be just as good. He is the best defender in the world," Guardiola told reporters, according to Goal.
"Before arriving at Barcelona I had never seen Messi play. But, Tito Vilanova had great things to say about him."
I know what you're thinking, that's just Guardiola blowing smoke up his backside, but allow me to defer you to an extra viral video from Twitter user @CrewsMat19 that proves the point perfectly:
GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says
Exploring whether Messi would have become the world's best left-back if he went through his entire footballing education in that position is certainly an interesting hypothesis.
And frankly, given the endless bounds to his talent, you wouldn't write him off having become the next Ashley Cole or Paolo Maldini in a parallel universe... just maybe with a little more muscle.
But regardless of those fantasies, there's no denying that Messi, particularly in his younger years, did a fantastic job of defending from the front and feeding that legendary Barcelona engine.
Has that turned more into patient and shrewd jogs around the pitch? Of course it has, but even GOATs get a little tired when they're 33 years old.
- Ranking every Champions League home kit
- Cristiano Ronaldo vs Ronaldo: 10 reasons why
- Experiment reveals the true fastest FIFA 21 player