Messi came up against Van Dijk during the Champions League semi-final last season, scoring twice in the first leg as the Catalans won 3-0 at Camp Nou, before being shut down in the return leg at Anfield as Liverpool won 4-0 en route to winning the competition.
Talking with Spanish news outlet Marca, Messi has pointed out why Van Dijk is such an outstanding opponent.
Messi said: “He is a defender that knows how to judge the timing and wait for the right moment to get in or hold on.
“He is very fast and big, but he has a lot of agility for his height.
“He is fast because of his great stride and is impressive, both in defence and attack, because he scores many goals.”
Van Dijk beat Messi to UEFA’s player of the year award before the Barcelona man won the Best FIFA awards last month.
The pair will face off again for the prestigious Ballon d’Or in December, with Van Dijk currently odds-on favourite ahead of Messi.