'I love Lionel Messi' – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady welcomes comparisons to Barcelona superstar ahead of Super Bowl

The New England Patriots quarterback is readying himself for another shot at a major title, with his achievements placing him in the superstar bracket

Lionel Messi can count New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady among his many fans, with the NFL superstar considering the Barcelona talisman to be a “great player”.

The Argentine maestro transcends sport, with his global image placing him in a talent bracket alongside the most recognisable personalities on the planet.

So impressive has he been throughout a distinguished playing career that he is held up to be a role model and hero to those who enjoy a similar standing in their own field.

Five-time Super Bowl champions Brady falls into that category, with his achievements in American Football seeing him earn a billing as one of the greatest sportsmen of all-time.

Messi has also been showered with such praise on a regular basis, with his trophy haul including five Ballon d’Or awards.

Brady could add a sixth crown to his individual roll on honour on Sunday when the Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

And ahead of that contest, the 40-year-old has welcomed comparisons between himself and Barca’s mercurial forward.

Brady told Sportags when quizzed on what he makes of such talk: “I love Messi and I think he’s a great player.

“I’m a little older than him, though.

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“I love soccer and I’ve watched soccer for a long time.”

Brady also admitted to being a fan of Messi’s fellow Argentine icon Diego Maradona, although he concedes that he saw little of the 1986 World Cup winner at the peak of his powers.

It is performers at that level, though, who continue to raise the bar to those around them and those set to follow in their footsteps over the years to come.

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