Zinedine Zidane reckons it is no contest and, predictably, Cristiano Ronaldo agrees with him.
When the Real Madrid legend won his fifth Ballon d’Or recently, he wasted no time declaring himself the best player in history.
Bernabeu boss Zidane, himself a Galactico legend, has the same opinion.
Better than Pele, better than Diego Maradona, better than George Best, Ference Puskas and any other great you name.
When you look beyond the self-proclamations and pouting, Ronaldo clearly does have a case as well.
Yet mention that around the ivory towers of the Nou Camp, and you will be lucky to escape in one piece.
For in the eyes of everyone at Barcelona there is only one winner . . . Lionel Messi, the man who also has a nap hand of Golden Balls to his name.
And as far as Xavi, himself one of the most glittering Barca gems of all time, is concerned, there can be no debate.
Xavi won four Champions Leagues and seven La Ligas among a host of major honours alongside Messi, before joining Qatari outfit Al Sadd in 2015.
And the midfield legend reckons for all Ronaldo’s triumphs, he still cannot hold a candle to the Argentine maestro.
Xavi said: “It’s Cristiano, it’s his character, and he believes he has taken Messi’s Golden Balls, which was unthinkable for those of us who believe in a more collective football.
“For those who believe in the Barca philosophy, we understand Messi is the best player in history.
“Cristiano evidently believes he’s the best in the world but, for me, there is no contest.
“Messi has been the cross of Madrid in the last ten to 15 years. Madrid has suffered a lot, the Bernabeu has a lot of respect for him.
“He has been the difference over the years, has always scored goals and is capable of doing what he wants.“
At lunchtime today Ronaldo gets the chance to prove his claim in the first Clasico of the season — one Real HAVE to win to have any hope of pegging back table-topping Barcelona.
The leaders are 11 points clear of Madrid, unbeaten in 24 games — since Real beat them twice in the Spanish Super Cup — and Messi’s 19 goals is eight more than anyone else.
He also holds the Clasico record of 24 goals in 36 matches, and has outscored Ronaldo 19-17 since the one-time Manchester United hero moved to Spain in 2009.
Yet the Argentine himself won’t be drawn into a row over who is the better player — he has always been more of a team man than individual superstar.
Messi said: “If individual statistics are there also, that’s even better, but they are not the objective — titles are our goal.”
If they emerge unscathed from this one, everyone inside the Nou Camp can start preparing for another.
Barca must overcome the loss of left-back Samuel Umtiti, who has been in outstanding form this season, while Paco Alcacer is also crocked.
Yet at least striker Luis Suarez has rediscovered his scoring touch, hitting six in the last five league games, after only three in the first 11.
Gareth Bale looks destined for a place on the bench, after just three substitute appearances since he suffered a calf injury three months ago.
Isco is likely to get the supporting role to Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.