Messi has been judged alongside both the Brazil and Argentina legends for several years, and the two-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner has spoken of the feeling that he gets from being measured against the pair, who are widely regarded as the best two footballers of all time.
"I try to improve every day. If, with that, people compare me to those two players who were so great and are still considered to be today, that's something amazing and really nice," said Messi.
However, it was a lesser-known player that Messi tried to emulate as a young player coming through the ranks at Barcelona's La Masia.
"I've always admired [Pablo] Aimar. He came from River and I liked the way he played. I always followed him," he added.
Messi picked up FIFA's Golden Shoe this week after scoring 50 league goals for Barca last season.