Maradona vs Messi: Who is the greatest Argentinian footballer of all time?

Maradona vs Messi: Who is the greatest Argentinian footballer of all time?

Maradona vs Messi! This is one debate that is unending. However, with proper knowledge of football numbers, the outcome of the discussion always leads to one verdict. The two Argentines are some of the best players ever witnessed on the football ground. They have set some of the most remarkable records ever seen in football.

Maradona vs Messi
Today's post looks to settle the debate of whether Lionel Messi is better than Diego Maradona. Photos by Steve Powell and Lionel Hahn. (Modified by author).
Source: Getty Images

The Argentines have played football during two very different generations, and thus many people make poor judgements when determining who is better between the two. Furthermore, the players are often termed as equally-talented, which is not the case.

Messi vs Maradona goals

When it comes to overall goals, Messi surpasses Diego. Only six players in history have amassed more goals than he has for club and country. He has also won a record six European Golden Shoes. Leo is the all-time leading scorer for Barcelona and Argentina, among many other scoring records. Additionally, he holds the European record for the most goals ever scored in a calendar year (73).

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Diego scored 357 goals throughout his career. For almost 30 years, Diego was Napoli's leading scorer before Marek Hamsik passed him. Messi has won the Pichichi Trophy six times and was the league's top scorer. In 91 Argentina games, Diego scored 34 goals, while Messi has 70 in 138.

Messi vs Maradona all-time stats

Overall Club Stats
Appearances 853333
Assists 33361
Minutes per goal95188
UEFA Champions League
Appearances 1617
Goals 1298
Assists 455
Minutes per goal10274
National Team
Appearances 16978
Goals 9429
Assists 5313
Minutes Played13,9546,928
Total Career
Goals 795182
Assists 38674
Trophies 3511

Messi vs Maradona dribbling

Even though they both have a solid left foot and a weak right foot, Diego Maradona and Lionel have different techniques. Despite having comparable heights, they use other dribbling techniques.

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While Diego was better at chasing down a running ball and carrying a lot of momentum, Leo sprints with the ball attached to his body. Diego is a master of deception. He would hold the ball up while waiting for a teammate or find a gap for a quick shot. On the other hand, Leo does not hold the ball up and must keep it in motion to perform his tricks.

Diego had a wide variety of dribbles, whereas Lionel consistently repeats the same move with the same result. Maradona was occasionally egotistical, whereas Leo is always a team player who puts the team before himself.

Messi vs Maradona World Cup

As of November 26, 2022, Leo had matched Maradona's 21 FIFA World Cup appearances record. He eventually surpassed the late great in his recent game against Poland. He now has the most appearances for Argentina in the World Cup finals.

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Messi vs Maradona World Cup stats
Argentina player Diego Maradona in action during a 1986 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Peru at the National Stadium on June 23, 1985, in Lima, Peru. Photo by David Cannon.
Source: Getty Images

The PSG striker tied Maradona's record of 21 goals in the FIFA World Cup for Argentina with his incredible goal against Mexico in the FIFA World Cup 2022. Leo has given his teammates six assists so far in his World Cup career. On the other hand, Diego has eight credit assists from 21 games over four FIFA World Cups.

Both Leo and Diego have won the Golden Ball award for individual achievement once. In 1986, Diego triumphed, and in 2014, Lionel did likewise.

Messi vs Maradona awards

Comparing the two regarding the highest individual honours is very challenging. Although Diego missed out on football's most coveted individual award until the rules were changed to allow non-Europeans to compete in 1995, Leo has won a record six Ballon d'Or trophies.

Diego was 35 years old at this point. The FIFA World Player of the Year award, another prestigious individual honour in football, wasn't established until 1991 when Diego was 31. Lionel has twice taken home the award. Likewise, Leo has earned the title Best Player in La Liga eight times.

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Messi and Maradona's relationship

There will inevitably be comparisons between the two because they are practically inseparable when talking about the history of Argentine football. But the fact remains that they are interconnected within the same culture.

They are more like successive inheritors of an identity than distinct characters. Leo and Diego never existed together. He came first, followed by Lionel. According to quotes from Lionel's father, Jorge, published by Diario Sport,

Leo grew up watching Diego's videos. He received them from us.

Between 2008 and 2010, when Maradona was in charge of the Argentine national team for two years, Messi was under his tutelage. Although Maradona looked out for Messi and gave him prominence in the setup, their personalities were very dissimilar.

Messi vs Maradona: Who is better

Leo is the undisputed champion in terms of pure numbers. He has 24 domestic trophies compared to Diego's eight, and ten league titles compared to Maradona's three. He only has one club championship to Lionel's ten continental and international ones. Although Leo hasn't achieved significant success with the national team, Diego won the World Cup, which Messi hopes to win in the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

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Messi vs Maradona awards
Diego Maradona from Argentina celebrates after scoring his second goal against England in a 1986 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match. Photo by Jean-Yves Ruszniewski.
Source: Getty Images

The Maradona vs Messi debate seems to be never-ending, and a clear winner seems to be Messi just for the sheer ridiculous numbers that he has. Leo has stood out among the two players the most and only needs the World Cup trophy to top it all, and probably go down as the greatest football player in history.

READ ALSO: Which is the best football league in Africa and why? recently posted about Africa's domestic leagues. Football is a sport that is well embraced in Africa. Some of the talented figures in Europe's elite premierships were great players in the African championships before the biggest clubs in the world discovered them.

The best football league in Africa has the biggest talents and infrastructure on the continent. Click on the link above to discover the best football leagues in Africa!

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Source: Sports Brief News