By 90Min
October 13, 2017

Brazil and Argentina share one of the fiercest rivalries in international football, yet Brazilian left back Filipe Luis has nothing but praise for Argentine talisman Lionel Messi, even claiming that the Barcelona superstar could win the league with even a mediocre team.

The two players will face each other on Saturday evening as their clubs Atletico Madrid and Barcelona go head to head at the new Wanda Metropolitano.

The Atleti defender gushed about Messi to Spanish outlet El Mundo, insisting that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is somewhat holding Barcelona together.

GERARD JULIEN/GettyImages

"Messi is so good he could win the league with a mediocre team," Luis claimed.

"Barça stays at the top all these years because of him. Barca has the ability to create constant internal controversies. They seem to like it. But Messi is so good, soooo good - he sustains them no matter what happens around him.

"When Messi or Cristiano get 50 goals, people think that the defences are bad, but they are not - there is no other goal and we are the same defences. It is very difficult for us and very easy for them. It's another level."

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Luis and Messi have become quite accustomed with each other as title contenders for their clubs and countries, battling it out as attacker vs defender when they meet.

The Atleti defender said: "I have played more than 30 games against him and I play the part of the butcher, but is that being totally sincere? 

"It is impossible to stop Messi one against one without fouls. If Messi faces me with the ball and I am alone, without grabbing or something strange, every 20 times I will only steal the ball once. I have to play with other weapons. 

"I know he does not like to play backwards, I have to be very high and I have to make it uncomfortable for him because if he feels comfortable, you're dead. 

"I think I do it quite well when I play although he always score goals."

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