Is Lionel Messi better than Diego Maradona?
Who is a better player- Lionel Messi or Diego Maradona? With these two football icons representing the same nation, this debate has been raging on since years. While one grew up playing football in Argentina, the other was shipped to Spain. Both are short, left-footed and can unlock the tightest of defenses, yet they are extremely different. Here we analyze their careers.
Both the players are equally skillful
Maradona is regarded as one of the most gifted players of all time, and his solo goal against England in the 1986 World Cup was a testament to his 'God gifted' ability. However, 19-year-old Lionel Messi proved he is no less when he dribbled from the halfway line to score a brilliant solo goal for Barcelona against Getafe. This is when the comparison began.
Lionel Messi has a better scoring ratio
Lionel Messi has scored over 600 goals for his club and country so far, and Diego Maradona lacks behind 'the Little Magician' in this department. Maradona scored just above 300 goals in his career, half of what Messi has scored by the age of 31. However, Maradona played as a mid-fielder creating chances for his team-mates while Messi is more of a striker.
Messi has won more honors with his club
Apart from being a 5-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi's record in the Champions League, regarded as the biggest competition in club football, is phenomenal. Messi has scored 100 UCL goals and has won four titles with Barcelona. On the other hand, Maradona scored 2 UCL goals in his 6 appearances. Maradona never made it past the second round in the Champions League.
Maradona is a better leader
Maradona captained his side to 1986 World Cup glory. He scored or created 10 of Argentina's 14 goals in the tournament. Not just that, he took charge at Napoli and won them their first ever Scudetto in the 1986-87 season and repeated the feat again in 1989-90. Messi, on the other hand, hasn't achieved much as a captain.
A major trophy still eludes Lionel Messi
It is a cruel comparison, but the people of Argentina believe Maradona is a better player because he helped them won the 1986 World Cup. Messi, on the other hand, has spent two decades of his life, away from Argentina, in Catalonia and he is yet to win a major trophy for his nation. Notably, Argentina lost two back-to-back Copa America under Messi's leadership.
Maradona is controversies' child, but Argentina love him
The people of Argentina will forgive Diego Maradona for 'almost' anything. He blatantly cheated by scoring a goal that was deemed as the 'Hand of God'. Maradona, then, failed a drug test ahead of the 1994 World Cup but they just cannot dislike him. But, Lionel Messi has been targeted several times for losing three back to back finals.
Messi has one last shot at redemption
But all is not over for Lionel Messi. Argentina are still competing in this World Cup. Seldom do you see teams that are so dependent on one man. He single-handedly dragged them into the World Cup. Don't be surprised if he finally puts this debate to rest by leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Russia.