Lionel Messi vs Diego Maradona: Former Argentina Star Settles the GOAT Debate

Lionel Messi vs Diego Maradona: Former Argentina Star Settles the GOAT Debate

Elijah Odetokun
April 13, 2024 at 8:49 AM
In this article:
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FIFA World Cup
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  • Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona are two of the greatest of all time
  • The two undoubtedly are the greatest Argentine footballers ever
  • A former Argentina player has explained the difference between them

Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona are two of the best ever to play football.

Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, a year before Messi was born in 1997. He also had other career high moments in club football.

Lionel Messi, Maxi Rodriguez, Diego Maradona, Argentina, 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa.
Diego Maradona coached Lionel Messi at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Photo by Mike Egerton.
Source: Getty Images

Since he broke onto the scene at Barcelona, Messi has been highly rated as the heir to Diego Maradona. He lived up to the billing despite the challenges, particularly with the national team.

Until he led the country to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, some fans in their homeland did not regard him ahead of Maradona, especially because he lost four Copa America finals.

The difference between Maradona and Messi

Both players share many similarities in terms of style of play. They are both left-footed and can take on players at full speed.

Diego Valerie, speaking on Taylor Twellman's Offside Podcast, refused to compare them because they are not the same, and he explained the difference between them.

“They’re different, it’s a matter of who you like better instead of who is the best,” he said
“Maradona was like a dancer with the ball, whereas Messi is a machine. The generational difference also makes it hard to compare, but saying that, Messi has sustained a level that nobody has managed, it’s part of being the best.”
“For me, they’re the same level,” he concluded.

Per Goal, the former Barcelona captain is the most decorated footballer after helping Inter Miami win the 2023 Leagues Cup, the 44th trophy of his illustrious career.

He could add more silverware to it this year with Miami and the national team with the Copa America set to be held in the United States in June.

Messi dedicates Ballon d'Or to Maradona

Sports Brief also reported on Messi dedicating Ballon d'Or to Maradona after winning a record-extending eighth award on the legend's posthumous birthday.

Maradona passed away three years ago before Messi led Argentina to their third World Cup, the first since the late legend led the country to victory in 1986 in Mexico.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.