Atletico Madrid full-back Filipe Luis championed Lionel Messi as he gets set to go head-to-head with the Barcelona star on Saturday, declaring his belief that the Argentina superstar could take a "mediocre team" to LaLiga title success.
Messi has been in irresistible form so far this season for Barca, scoring 11 league goals in seven matches as the Catalan giants have taken control at the top of the table.
The 30-year-old provided another timely reminder of his immense ability during the international break, netting a hat-trick as Argentina crucially beat Ecuador 3-1 to avoid an embarrassing failure to qualify for the World Cup.
And Filipe Luis accepts he will likely have to play the "butcher" role again to stop Messi when Barca visit the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, as there is no other way to halt the forward.
He told El Mundo: "Messi is so good that he could win the league with only a mediocre team, which is not the case [with Barca].
"Barca have the ability to create constant internal problems. They seem to like that, but Messi is so good, so good. He sustains them no matter what happens around him.
"When Messi or Cristiano [Ronaldo] get 50 goals, people think that the defences are bad, but when they are not there, there are no other goals and we are the same defences. It is very difficult for all of us and very easy for them. It's another level.
"I have played more than 30 games against him and I play the part of the butcher, because, and I'm being totally sincere, it is impossible to stop Messi one-on-one without fouling him.
"If Messi faces me with the ball and I am alone, without fail I will grab him or something. I have to play with other weapons.
"I have to make things uncomfortable for him because if he feels comfortable, you're dead."
Filipe Luis is used to coming into contact with the world's best players and is a team-mate of Neymar at international level with Brazil.
Neymar stole the headlines in the close-season as he secured a world-record €222million move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, a figure that Filipe Luis believes is understandable.
"Neymar is worth that money," he added. "It is his price. He is the third, equal-second, best in the world.
"Whenever he is told that something is impossible, he goes and achieves it. He loves challenges.
"He has broken the market and that should add enormous pressure, but he does not feel it. He's a guy who lives in his world and enjoys these things a lot.
"I know that amount sounds crazy, but it is good that money is paid for players because it shows that a player can generate that value. Football generates more money than people believe."
|Rhinos run riot to secure Super League status|
|Risk brings reward for victorious Marquez|
|Let´s have some fun - Wentz tweets message to Eagles fans ahead of return|
|Maybe in a year Chelsea will be at Liverpool´s level – Sarri|
|Under-pressure Rodgers bemoans ´bitty´ Celtic start|
|Slater should be banned for Grand Final - Fittler|
|Simon ends Bachinger fairytale to lift Metz title|
|Dominant Thiem reigns in St. Petersburg|
|Neymar hands young fan his shirt during Paris Saint-Germain victory|
|Quick-Step Floors storm to fourth time trial gold|
|Jorginho sets new passing record in West Ham draw|
|Rubiales slams ´crazy´ LaLiga schedule|
|Rennes 1 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Tuchel´s Ligue 1 record stays perfect|
|Why so serious? Joshua reveals Fury has blocked him on Twitter|
|West Ham 0 Chelsea 0: Sarri´s 100 per cent start comes to frustrating end|
|Marvellous Marquez reigns in Aragon yet again|
|Real Madrid will not go to the USA with LaLiga - Perez|
|Erasmus adds five players to Springboks squad|
|Barcelona snub ´hardest decision´ of Griezmann´s career|
|Perez pays tribute to Ronaldo and Zidane|
|Cazorla concedes Arsenal lacked self-belief under Wenger|
|Get King Kong for AJ! Joshua understands critics´ demands|
|Korea change sees Bertens take title in Seoul|
|I love Bilic, but I let him down – Arnautovic|
|He will never fight me! Fury hits out at ´ponderous´ Joshua|
|Azpilicueta convinced Hazard can be ´the best´|
|Wigglesworth´s career in Opta numbers as he breaks Premiership record|
|Ronaldo has nothing to prove, says Allegri|
|Federer shines as Europe hold narrow lead at Laver Cup|
|Astros, Yankees and Indians record dramatic wins|
|Pliskova too strong for Osaka in Tokyo final|
|Kyle Busch comes from behind to win again in Virginia|
|Dybala can play as a striker – Allegri|
|Pochettino never doubts ´special´ Kane|
|NASCAR results at Richmond: Kyle Busch comes from behind to win again in Virginia|
|McIlroy just worried about himself at Tour Championship|
|MLS Review: Atlanta stay clear of Red Bulls|
|Rose reminds everyone Woods has been here before|
|Cronk in doubt for Grand Final due to ´severe´ shoulder injury|
|Timberwolves sign Towns to extension|
|Hearn wants Wilder for Joshua, not ´un-entertaining´ Fury|
|Woods pleased with putting consistency|
|Ballon d´Or not a focus for Asensio|
|Man City star Mendy revels in Joshua triumph|
|Braves clinch first NL East title since 2013|
|I want Wilder, says Joshua|
|Inter must live on the edge to win, says jubilant Spalletti|
|Woods leads by three at Tour Championship|
|Bordeaux end Clermont´s perfect start, Zebo at double in Racing win|
|Lopetegui not worried about Courtois footwork|
|Joshua finds emphatic answer to Povetkin challenge|
|BREAKING NEWS: Brutal Joshua knocks out Povetkin in seventh round|
|Real Madrid can´t win 5-0 every week - Varane|
|Al Ahly 4 Horoya 0 (4-0 agg): Egyptian giants reach CAF Champions League semi-finals|
|Kings upset Warriors, Leinster batter Edinburgh|
|Son committed to Tottenham amid Bayern links|
|Simeone hails Atleti´s best LaLiga display of the season|
|Kovac: Bayern ´dominated´ Schalke in 2-0 win|
|Pochettino unimpressed with Tottenham´s tense finish|
|Campbell gains revenge as Price is halted by injury|
|Tottenham fatigue rumours are a myth, claims Rose|
|Widnes defiant after Super League relegation, Saints outclass Wolves|
|NFL must go back to college to eradicate the tie|
|Real Madrid 1 Espanyol 0: Asensio downs old club to earn narrow win|
|Sampdoria 0 Inter 1: Brozovic wins it late after VAR takes centre stage|
|Rudy takes blame for James goal in Bayern win|
|Tiger charges into four-shot lead|
|Players have given their lives to Burnley - Dyche|
|QPR 0 Norwich City 1: Pukki hits winner as hot streak continues|
|Nuno proud of Wolves character in Man United draw|