Messi or Maradona? Argentina Icon Juan Roman Riquelme Gives Brilliant Response to Goat Debate

Messi or Maradona? Argentina Icon Juan Roman Riquelme Gives Brilliant Response to Goat Debate

Edwin Kiplagat
updated at November 28, 2023 at 3:12 PM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
  • The Lionel Messi vs Diego Maradona GOAT debate can be a tough one
  • Both players won the World Cup, but Messi has better stats
  • Argentina legend Juan Roman Riquelme gave an interesting answer when asked who is the GOAT

The Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi GOAT debate has been going on for years, and it is still raging on even after the Barcelona legend led Argentina to World Cup glory last year.

Another GOAT debate, Messi vs Diego Maradona, has also been a heated one. Juan Roman Riquelme, arguably the greatest No. 10 in football history, gave a diplomatic answer when asked to pick between the two.

Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Juan Roman Riquelme, 2022 World Cup, 1986 World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi was considered the GOAT after winning the World Cup. Photos by Bob Thomas and Mariano Sanchez/Anadolu Agency.
Source: Getty Images

Riquelme, of course, played with both Messi and Maradona, so he knows both players very well. Riquelme and Maradona played together for Boca Juniors in Argentina.

The legendary playmaker shared the pitch with Messi in Argentina colours. They led their country to gold in the 2008 Olympics in China. The 36-year-old played in Riquelme's farewell match a few months ago.

Riquelme and Maradona had an infamous feud, and it seems they reconciled before Maradona tragically died in 2020.

In many top five greatest footballers lists, Messi and Maradona are always present.

Riquelme on Messi vs Maradona

Speaking to ESPN, the former Villarreal midfielder gave a diplomatic answer when asked who is the GOAT between those two.

“Maradona? He’s the greatest I saw on a football pitch when I was a child. Now when I grew up, the greatest is Messi. I was lucky to play with both of them, for me it was a very big dream,” via GOAL.

Both players have won the World Cup, Maradona in 1986 and Messi in 2022.

However, Messi's stats dwarf those of Maradona. For instance, the Inter Miami star has scored over 800 goals in his career, while the late Napoli icon scored nearly 200 goals in his senior career.

Maradona is considered the best footballer of the 1980s, and his 'goal of the century' remains an iconic moment in football history.

Messi has eight Ballon d'Or awards, but Maradona could've won a few if he was eligible. Therefore, this is a debate that is not as straightforward as it looks.

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Argentina fans on Messi vs Maradona

Sports Brief earlier reported on Argentina fans picking between Maradona and Messi.

Seven people were asked the question and a result of a 5-2 win went in favour of former Napoli and Boca Juniors captain Maradona.

This is definitely a huge debate in Argentina, which was blessed with the two geniuses. When emotions and nostalgia are involved, it can be a heated debate.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.