Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has voiced his belief that Barcelona star Lionel Messi will become the best player in the history of football.
The 25-year-old became only the second player to win the Ballon d'Or for three years running in January, emulating Michel Platini's feat in the eighties.
As the United States' Olympic basketball team prepares for Tuesday's friendly contest against Spain in Barcelona, Bryant has reiterated that he is in awe of the Argentine prodigy's talent.
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"I hope that I will be able to see Messi, to tell him that I want him," he told reporters.
"He is prepared to be the best player in all history."
The five-time NBA champion then admitted that he is a big fan of Serie A football after spending part of his childhood in Italy.
"Diego Maradona was sensational, when I grew up in Italy, Serie A was the best," he added.
"Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Roberto Baggio, Paolo Maldini, Maradona at Napoli. Serie A was great."
Since making his Barcelona debut in 2004, Messi has won five Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, three Champions Leagues, and became the club's all-time record goalscorer.