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Messi the best now, not in history - Bilardo

Former Argentina coach Carlos Bilardo has dismissed claims Barcelona star Lionel Messi is the best player ever.

The prolific attacker won his fifth Ballon d'Or this week - two more than anyone else - and is widely regarded as one of the most talented stars the game has ever seen.

Bilardo is not sure Messi should be lauded so highly, but does consider the 28-year-old one of world's greatest active players.

"We are talking about one of the best. But I mean one of the best now rather than in the history of the game," Bilardo told ESPN.

"Messi really deserved the Ballon d'Or. I think there is a significant gap to the other guy [Cristiano Ronaldo].

"Messi has won a lot and people around the world recognise him. Wherever he goes, people are chanting his name.

"I think he is among the best. You cannot take anything away from him because he has not won the World Cup yet. That is something difficult."

Bilardo was in charge of Argentina between 1983 and 1990 and guided them to World Cup glory in 1986, with Diego Maradona excelling at the tournament in Mexico.

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