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Raul: Messi best I've ever faced

New York Cosmos striker Raul said Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi is the best player he has ever played against during his glittering career.

Messi - a four-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner - is enjoying another stellar season as Barca attempt to claim the treble, with the Argentina international having scored 49 goals in all competitions in 2014-15.

Raul, who is now plying his trade in the United States after 16 trophy-laden years with Real Madrid, selected the 27-year-old Barca star as his greatest opponent.

"I was lucky enough to play with Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo, Cristiano... but Messi is different," the 37-year-old told Sports Illustrated.

"He makes everything look so easy, so effortless – even the impossible. When you watch him play, it's almost as though you are watching him in the street playing with his mates. 

"From the time when I started out, the best players around then were Roberto Baggio and Ryan Giggs."