Iker Casillas boasts strong ties to Real Madrid and was once a team-mate of Cristiano Ronaldo, but the legendary goalkeeper has suggested that Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi is the greatest of all time.
The World Cup winner is hardly the first to have made such a claim when it comes to the mercurial Argentine.
He would, however, have been expected to side more with those who have graced the books at the Santiago Bernabeu down the years.
Casillas stepped out of a famed youth system in Madrid to spend 16 years as a senior star at Real.
Six of those seasons, prior to his departure for Porto in 2015, were spent playing alongside Portuguese superstar Ronaldo.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has staked his own serious claim to a standing as the finest player to have ever played the game.
Ronaldo’s battle with Messi has made for intriguing viewing, with two modern-day icons having raised the bar of individual excellence.
Barcelona’s captain was back to his enigmatic best on Sunday as he netted a late winner in a crucial La Liga clash with Atletico Madrid.
On the back of that game, Casillas noted that any successful side needs a top goalkeeper and GOAT presence – with the Blaugrana considered to have both in Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Messi.
Real icon Casillas posted on social media: “Formula for football: goalkeeper (top) & player (GOAT).
“Today Barca took the three points at Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico have played well but lacked composure in front of goal.
“Blaugrana remain top of the league. Atletico have to fight for the Champions League zone.”
Having starred for his club side on Sunday, Messi will be hoping to savour more success 24 hours later.
The Argentina international is considered to be a leading contender for the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, along with eternal rival Ronaldo, will also be in contention for the prestigious prize.
Messi has, however, already scooped the FIFA Best Award this year and is expected to add a sixth Golden Ball to his remarkable collection of honours before turning his attention back to chasing down more team titles with Barca in 2020.