Messi finished runner-up to Cristiano Ronaldo in the race to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or, despite helping Barca to claim a second consecutive domestic double.
Ronaldo now sits one behind the Argentina captain in the all-time Ballon d’Or standings, with four wins to Messi’s five, while past greats Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten are further back on three triumphs apiece.
But the Barca head coach has dismissed the notion of using individual prizes to compare Messi to stars of the previous century and insists there is no player in the modern game who will replicate the 29-year-old’s feats.
“Messi can play in any position he wants,” Luis Enrique told the club’s official TV channel.
“He’s just different. It’s ridiculous that they’re comparing awards, golden melons, whatever it is that they want to compare.
“Not to take anything away from current players, no disrespect to anyone right now. I’m thinking about past players. There’s no comparison.”
“Don’t forget to compare Messi to players from many years ago. The level of play was far inferior physically.
“Professional footballers are for more prepared these days, much stronger physically, in terms of skill, the coaches are much better and give much more info to the players.
“For a player to do this, in this era, there will never be another one like him.”