Juventus star Paulo Dybala has hailed Lionel Messi as "Maradona for our generation".
Dybala will come face-to-face with fellow Argentina international Messi when Juve host Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, with both sides set to progress from Group D.
Messi scored twice and turned in a dazzling display as Barcelona won 3-0 in the teams' initial meeting this season.
Since that game, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner produced a virtuoso performance to score a hat-trick in Ecuador and wrestle Argentina almost single-handedly to the 2018 World Cup.
Dybala looked on as an unused substitute in Quito and believes Messi compares favourably with Argentina icon Diego Maradona.
"I have always admired Ronaldinho," Dybala told Football France when discussing another Barcelona favourite. "But Leo is like Maradona for those of our generation.
"For me it's an honour to play with him in the national team.
"He dragged us to the World Cup with the hat-trick in Ecuador. He is a born leader."
In a wide-ranging interview, Dybala expressed a desire to one day play alongside Messi's former team-mate and Brazil superstar Neymar – two players the 24-year-old hopes to vie with for Ballon d'Or honours over the years to come.
"I'd like to play with Neymar in the future," Dybala added. "At the moment he is the one closest to winning it, being closer to the level of Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo.
"I have to work to improve and win trophies. Once, in front of a bonfire with friends we all made a wish – my own was to win the Ballon d'Or."
|All we do is talk s*** - Pique goads Madrid stars over WhatsApp|
|England like rabbits in the headlights - Bayliss|
|Euro 2016 humiliation helped England, claims Dele Alli|
|58 all out! Shambolic England overshadow Broad milestone|
|Iniesta confident of two more years in Barcelona starting XI|
|Kane probably the best striker in the world - Maguire|
|Broad strikes again – the Opta data behind the England bowler´s 400th wicket|
|Wenger told Wilshere he could leave Arsenal|
|An India hat-trick and THAT Ashes annihilation: Broad´s finest Test spells|
|Broad removes Latham to claim 400th Test wicket|
|If you play for Atletico, you must be committed – Koke responds to Griezmann speculation|
|LeBron´s historic night leads Cavs past Raptors, Howard tallies rare 30-30|
|Del Potro, Cilic loom for Haase and Herbert|
|Giggs: Bale will feature for Wales in China Cup|
|Serena releases statement after skipping media following Miami loss|
|England bowled out for 58 in 130-year Test low|
|Maradona: Messi doesn´t have to prove himself by winning World Cup|
|Cavs tally worst defensive half of season against Raptors|
|McIlroy, Johnson stunned on day one in Austin|
|Cristiano Ronaldo hasn´t asked to leave Real Madrid amid China links – Perez|
|Oakland Athletics allowing fans to pick price of tickets, all proceeds to charity|
|Ginobili: Spurs not expecting Kawhi Leonard to return this season|
|Trout, Angels brass confident Shohei Ohtani will be a star|
|Osaka wanted to impress Serena with stunning Miami Open win|
|Manchester United apply for professional women´s team|
|Bolt hopes fellow Jamaican breaks his world record|
|Bolt a fan of Ronaldo, but compares his talent to Messi´s|
|Outstanding Osaka knocks out Williams in Miami opener|
|Del Potro ´tired´ heading into Miami Open|
|Heynckes definitely leaving at end of season, claims Ze Roberto|
|Joshua tells Wilder to be ´realistic´ in negotiations|
|Shaw issue a distraction from Manchester United´s failures, says Neville|
|Hamsik withdraws from Slovakia squad|
|RFU backs Jones despite awful Six Nations|
|Hamilton eyes Melbourne pole record, 100 club for Vettel? - Australian GP in numbers|
|Griezmann backs Pogba to prove doubters wrong for France|
|Sanchez ´expected something better´ from Manchester United move|
|WATCH: Thomas conjures up great escape in Austin|
|Javi Martinez in the dark over Spain squad omission|
|Jones should have managed England workload - Flood|
|Giggs feeling the tension ahead of Wales debut|
|Juventus confirm Alex Sandro thigh injury|
|Hart praises ´loyal guy´ Southgate amid World Cup axe fears|
|Windies singing in the rain as they clinch World Cup spot|
|I miss Morata, says recalled Costa|
|I can improve even more at Manchester City - Bernardo Silva|
|Neymar will be fit for the World Cup, insists Ronaldo|
|Costa thinks Griezmann will stay at Atletico Madrid|
|Third DRS zone added for Australian Grand Prix|
|Ferdinand worried by England´s World Cup striker options|
|Hamilton an F1 great - Fittipaldi|
|Stam leaves Reading after wretched run|
|Neymar is great, we´ll see if he joins Real Madrid – Asensio|
|Appalling racism must stop - Inglis|
|Maguire tips ´nightmare´ Vardy to replace injured Kane|
|Red Bull duo: Mercedes still the team to beat|
|Wait and see - Root refuses to confirm new-ball role for Broad|
|Malcom ready to leave Bordeaux and chase Bayern ´dream´|
|Surprised Smith says Rabada appeal verdict draws ´line in the sand´|
|Asensio insists Zidane was not unfair to him|
|Griezmann wants future resolved before World Cup|
|F1 2018: Hamilton v Vettel - the race for five titles|
|Nocerino wants Conte return after Italy´s World Cup ´disaster´|
|Celtics capitalise on Thunder meltdown, Harden scores 42 points|
|Jason Day hungry to reclaim top ranking: My game is close|
|Iconic 2002 World Cup haircut was media distraction, reveals Ronaldo|
|New Zealand star Taylor fit for day-night Test|
|Teenager Anisimova to face Muguruza in Miami|
|McIlroy credits Wayne Rooney for improved putting|
|Stokes return a ´huge boost´ for England – Root|