Former Barcelona and Spain striker David Villa has revealed why he left Camp Nou in 2013, and has also described Lionel Messi as 'much better' than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Villa, who recently retired from professional football aged 37, spent three seasons in Catalunya in which he helped his side win the Champions League and two La Liga titles by scoring 48 goals.
The forward's departure from the club was rumoured to have come as a result of his deteriorating relationship with Lionel Messi, however the World Cup winner revealed in an exclusive interview with 12up that his exit had nothing to do with this.
"Nothing happened with Messi. At the time it was said a lot, but the truth is that if I had continued being [a starter] I would have stayed at Barcelona," Villa claimed.
"The truth is that I began to lose prominence. I was always on the bench and after much thought I told the team manager that I wanted to leave."
In the interview, the Spaniard also gave his opinion on an age-old debate: who's better, Messi or Ronaldo?
"Messi is much better than Cristiano. I had the chance to play with him and it is something I will never see in my life. He is the best player in the world. Cristiano is a machine, but Messi is one level higher," he revealed.
Villa also spoke about the motivations behind his retirement, with the former Valencia man saying that he wanted more time to focus on business projects.
One of these projects is Queensboro FC, who are the United Soccer League team that Villa will assist in running when they join the league in a few years time. In that particular enterprise, the ex-Barca man will largely be working in an off-field capacity but he refused to rule out a coaching role in the future.
"You can't say no to anything, but right now I want to dedicate myself to my academies, Queensboro FC and personal things that I have pending," Villa stated. "All the teams I played on have told me that I have the door open, but for now I don't see myself. We'll see what happens."