"He is clearly a great player," Messi said when asked about the Atletico Madrid striker, although he said he was "not 100 percent sure" if the French striker would make the move to Catalonia.
But Messi layed on the compliments for the diminutive No.9.
"Good players always have an understanding and he's at an exceptional moment in his career," said Messi.
The Barcelona man told Mundo Deportivo he hoped Real Madrid's pursuit of Paris Saint Germain striker Neymar would come to nothing.
"The truth is that wouldn't please me at all," said Messi of the prospect of meeting his former teammate in Madrid's all-white shirt.