A viral TikTok video has reminded football fans of one Lionel Messi quality that often gets overlooked during discussions about the greatest player of all time.

For the current generation of football fans, the answer to the question ‘who is the greatest player ever’ is either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

There are valid arguments for both. Messi is the better technician and the favourite of those who prefer intricate passing and silky dribbling.

While it’s awfully close, Ronaldo just about pips Messi when it comes to scoring goals. Few players can claim to be as deadly in-and-around the penalty area, certainly not those who started their careers playing on the wing.

But in debates where stats, goals, trophies and individual awards hold all the weight, Messi’s footballing intelligence is something that is often overlooked.

Now, a TikTok compilation has emerged that highlights just some of the hundreds of moments of genius Messi produced while playing for Barcelona.

The video is full of no-look reverse passes, nutmeg passes and cute touches but it’s the clips when Messi doesn’t actually touch the ball at all that are most striking.

In several clips he dummies the ball at the last possible second, aware that a teammate is behind him in a better position. On other occasions, he makes no attempt to go for the ball at all, aware that he is standing in an offside position.

Fans on TikTok were certainly impressed.

“A master at work,” one commented, while another remarked: “crazy how he’s best playmaker ever, best dribbler ever and one of the best goal scorers ever and still somehow isn’t unanimously considered the best player ever.”

Messi didn’t touch the ball in half of the clips but his footballing intelligence is just as bewitching as his on-the-ball skills. “The best ever,” one user said, while another commented, “never get bored of a Messi compilation.”