David Villa believes Lionel Messi has so many strengths that it is impossible to pinpoint his best position on the pitch.
The Barcelona forward won a record sixth Ballon d'Or last year and his team remain in contention for LaLiga and Champions League glory ahead of Sunday's Clasico match away to rivals Real Madrid.
Barca lead Madrid by two points at the top of table heading into their trip to Santiago Bernabeu, Messi having scored four times in their most recent league outing, a 5-0 thumping of Eibar at Camp Nou.
Messi's former Barca team-mate Villa was amazed by what he saw from the Argentina forward after joining the club from Valencia in 2010.
"I don't know who said this but they said 'Messi is Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi - and even Sergio Busquets if you want'," Villa told BBC Sport.
"When I heard it, I thought, 'That's my thought as well'. If you ask me what's his best position, I don't know.
"He's not a number nine but the top scorer. He's not a number 10 but he's the top assist provider. He's not a tall guy but he scores headers - he's good at everything.
"We were thinking sometimes he's not shooting well with the right foot, then he scores amazing goals with the right foot. I think that he played as a keeper one time and he did well.
"That's the reality of Messi. Everyone knows he's a quiet guy. He's very normal in the dressing room and on the field."
A successful three years with Barca saw Villa win eight trophies before he left for Atletico Madrid in 2013.
The team's Champions League win in 2011 was a standout moment, and the final of that year's competition at Wembley also produced what the World Cup winner thought was his best career goal.
"We were playing very well but the reality is we were winning 2-1 and one goal for Manchester United would tie the game," Villa said of his superb curling strike.
"That goal finally gave us the calm of taking the trophy. It was perfect."