For Villa, Messi is the greatest the world has seen.
"Leo Messi is the greatest player of all time," Villa said in an interview with Reuters.
"Barcelona owes its success to his evolution: a direct style of passing play based on possession."
The 2008 European Championship and 2010 World Cup winner went on to lavish further praise on Messi's status among the greats
"Obviously with the likes of Pele, Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff, I didn't have the chance to watch them like I used to see Messi every day, in every game," he added.
"But, in my opinion, Messi's the best."