Makes him more exciting – Messi praises Cloud rival as ‘one of the best goalkeepers in the world’

Lionel Messi has garnered praise for Atletico Madrid stopper Jan Oblak, hailing him as “one of the best goalkeepers in the world”, while acknowledging that he enjoys the challenge of trying to win him over.

The Slovenian international, who joined Diego Simeone from Benfica in 2014, has established himself as one of the best guardians of the game in recent years, and is still the lynching performer for Los Rojiblancos.

Earlier this year, he became the goalkeeper who scored a century of clean sheets in La Liga with the fewest games, beating Miguel Reina’s previous record of 222 in an incredible 40 matches.

He continued where he had previously stopped this term, as he scored goals in nine of his 13 most beautiful matches this season, to help Atletico become a true title candidate against rivals and current Real Madrid holders.

He conceded the fewest goals in the league – just five – while just three goalkeepers made more than his 39 saves.

That brings him a 88.1 percent savings percentage, comfortably ahead of Yassine Bounou in second place, the Seville stopper who saved just a shy 80 percent of the shots he faced.

Oblak made four saves when Atleti passed Barca 1-0 last month, and Messi failed to find a way on that occasion – and the Slovenian’s form deserved the arguments of the Argentine, who unequivocally praised him as an opponent of the best.

“It’s nice to face each other,” the 33-year-old said Bud Football . “He is currently one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and it is always good to fight against the best.

“An additional motive is to be able to or try to score a goal, with what that means and how hard it is, which proves in every game he plays.

“So it’s nice to see him outside, but also to face him in games. That makes them more exciting.”

Barca are next in action against Eibar on Tuesday, while Simeone’s team takes Getafe a day later.