Now aged 42, Puyol retired in 2014 having made 593 first-team appearances for the Catalan giants and winning 100 caps for the Spanish national team.
Puyol was a rock at the heart of the Catalan club’s defence over 15 seasons and was a teammate of the Argentine star for eight of those campaigns.
This week, Messi scored his 644th goal for Barcelona, breaking the record set by Pele with Santos, to continue his remarkable record throughout his career.
Puyol told an interview with Goal.com, in quotes carried by Marca: “I understand that it is difficult for a Real Madrid fan to admit that he is the best, it is an opinion like any other, but his goals are there and it is objective data.
“We have been fortunate to have been able to enjoy him for so long and the numbers are not invented by anyone but are proof that he is the best. Remembering the work we did together makes me feel very proud.
“I am confident that a Barcelona led by Leo will continue to win titles.
“At Barcelona he has already broken all the records and I don’t know if there will be anyone who can compete with him in the future because he has set the bar very high.”