Former Argentina star Ossie Ardiles says that Lionel Messi is a better player than Diego Maradona.
Comparisons between the two no.10s abound, especially during World Cups, but speaking to RTÉ Sport, Ardiles, a former team-mate of Maradona, reckons that the 26-year-old Barcelona maestro has proved himself superior to the ex-Napoli player.
Speaking before Argentina's 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina, the World Cup winner said: “I played with Maradona, I think I showed him one or two tricks, I’m happy [about] that.
"When I played with Maradona I thought it was impossible to see another player of this quality but suddenly Messi came to the fore and I personally believe that Messi is even better.
“This is how highly I rate Lionel Messi. A lot of people say he needs [to win] a World Cup to be challenging Diego - I don’t think so. I think what he has done already is absolutely sublime.
“But, of course, the icing on the cake [would be] to win the World Cup with Argentina. In fact, I think there’s not going to be any more discussions [about who is better after that].”
"I played with Maradona, I think I showed him one or two tricks"
Maradona is widely credited as the driving force behind La Albiceleste’s 1986 win in Mexico but Ardiles believes their success was not down to one man.
He added: “A lot of people say that Maradona won the World Cup on his own, that’s not true. He had people like [Jorge] Valdano, Sergio Batista. [Oscar] Ruggeri.
“Of course, Maradona was the difference and this is what we are expecting Messi to be in the World Cup. He is surrounded by a lot of very good players but if Messi doesn’t perform [Argentina] are not going to win the World Cup.
“I believe he is the best player in the world but somehow when it comes to the World Cup he has not produced. This could be his World Cup.”