The latest arrival at Camp Nou believes that the Argentine is the greatest player the game has ever seen, while he revealed that he received several offers from other clubs
Turkey international Arda completed his €41 million move from Atletico Madrid to the Blaugrana on Friday, putting pen to paper on a five-year contract with the Catalan club.
The attacking midfielder will not be able to play for Luis Enrique’s side until January as Barca are currently serving a Fifa-imposed transfer ban relating to the movement of under-age players but Arda explained that he never had any doubts about moving to Camp Nou as he is so excited about lining up alongside the man he believes to be the greatest footballer of all time.
“Cristiano is special but he’ll never be like Messi,” the 28-year-old told reporters at a press conference on Friday.
“I don’t think that there’s ever been anyone like Messi – or ever will be.”
However, Arda admitted that he is arguably even more excited about playing in the same team as Andres Iniesta and insisted that there is room for him in Barca’s all-star attacking line-up.
“Hopefully I will play play alongside Iniesta, Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez,” he stated. “I think you can see that picture of the five of us playing together.
“At Atletico, I always said that Messi is the best player in the world, but Iniesta is my idol.”
Arda, who was also linked with Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, also revealed that he could have moved elsewhere but that he always had his heart set on a switch to Catalunya.
“I received lots of offers, but when I heard from Barca I pushed all the others aside,” he added.
“Those who know me know that I’ve dreamt of playing for Barca since I was a kid.
“I’m happy to come to the best club in the world. I’ll try to give the best I’ve have.
“I’ve always liked having to really fight in order to win; I think here people will see the best Arda.”