Leo Messi, the amazing Argentinian striker, is arguably the greatest player of all time. But is he? There are many who consider Messi to be a great player, but unworthy of being called the greatest because they reserve this title for the former Argentinian Talisman, Diego Maradona. In this article, we’ll take a look and try to determine who is truly worthy of the title, Lionel Messi or Diego Maradona.
Diego the Legend
Diego Maradona, at the prime of his career, was very much similar to what Leo Messi is today. He had the same superhuman dribbling skills, plus some extraordinary flamboyance as well. Maradona was truly an Argentinian legend, and his nation pinned their hopes upon him the same way it does with Messi today. Maradona was a revered star on the national stage and many today consider his contributions for Argentina to far exceed what Messi has done for his national side.
Maradona at the club level
Quite incidentally, Maradona also donned the Barcelona shirt during his prime just as Messi does today. The only difference is that Maradona spent merely 2 years at the club and then left for Napoli. During his time in Spain, Maradona was not impressed with the achievements of Barcelona as they were not winning as many trophies back then as they are doing today. At Napoli, Maradona shined just as bright and helped the side win 2 league titles. While his performance in Europe won many accolades, the truth remains that his fans still consider his international level performance far more illustrious than his performance at the club level.
The Stats Speak for Themselves
Now, let us take a look at what the stats say. At the club level, Messi leads easily by a mile. His average goals per game are 0.85 which is far more than Maradona’s 0.47. Furthermore, it seems that Messi is also much better at handling pressure and performing most when it matters; I say this because he has scored 20 goals in finals as compare to Maradona’s 3. Furthermore, Messi is also much better at scoring open play goals, having scored 347 as compared to Maradona’s 82.
Next, if we look at the cumulative achievements that the two players have had, we find a stark contrast. Messi has won almost every trophy on the planet and done it multiple times. Compared to this, Maradona’s club record is far less impressive. Of course, some may argue that Messi has the advantage of being part of a team that is arguably the greatest and most illustrious club in the world, and that the circumstances are just right for Messi, unlike Maradona during whose time Barcelona was far from the superpower that it is today.
The International Level
Next, let us take the comparison to the international level. Here, the contrast is much less observed. While Maradona still trails behind Messi when it comes to the number of goals, the difference is not all that great. Maradona has also scored more goals in the world cup than Messi. All stats aside, Maradona has won the ultimate Holy Grail for his country – the world cup!
While both the players are true greats, the ultimate decision lies with the fans who will obviously have their own preferences.