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Sports - December 13, 2022

Maradona vs Messi: Who’s the Argentina’s GOAT

For the better part of a decade, there has been a heated argument between the supporters of Lionel Messi and Diego Armando Maradona. Which of the two Argentine legends is the G.O.A.T. has largely shaped how this has developed.

There will always be people who will strongly feel that Maradona was the better football player, even if Messi wins the World Cup with Argentina in Qatar later this year.

Maradona was the perfect illustration of a genius with flaws who was also gifted with exceptional natural skill. Argentines fell in love with Diego Maradona the person and the footballer because he was a wizard with the ball at his feet.

It’s difficult to change people’s minds on this because they seem to be either Team Diego or Team Messi.

Let’s take a look at five criteria to analyse the careers of Maradonna and Messi.


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1. Trophies and honours

Messi is the undisputed champion in terms of pure numbers. He has 24 domestic trophies to Diego’s eight, and 10 league titles to Maradona’s three. Maradona only had one club championship to Messi’s ten continental and international ones.

Comparing the two when it comes to the highest individual honours is really challenging. Although Maradona missed out on football’s most coveted individual award until the rules were amended to enable non-Europeans to compete in 1995, Messi has won a record six Ballons d’Or.

While Diego and Pele shared the 2000 Fifa Player of the Century award, both players won the Fifa World Cup Golden Ball in different ways.

2. Goals 

Maradona cannot compare to Messi in terms of overall goals scored. Only six players in history have scored more goals for club and country than he has, and he has won a record six European Golden Shoes.

Over the course of his career, Maradona scored 357 goals, which is more than Messi has. Before Marek Hamsik passed him, Diego had nearly 30 years as Napoli’s all-time leading scorer.

But it must be acknowledged that, in addition to playing more than 200 fewer games than Messi, Maradona spent the most of his career in a significantly deeper spot. He primarily played as an offensive midfielder for Napoli, playing behind two attackers, but he sometimes dropped into his own half to start attacks.

3. International career

Maradona won the World Cup, making him immortal. Messi has not scored a single knockout goal in four World Cups.

Although he was awarded the 2014 World Cup’s best player, the choice to give him the Fifa Golden Ball was roundly criticised.

In his five Copa America appearances, he also struggled in crucial situations, scoring only two game-winning goals and going scoreless in all three losing finals. Additionally, in the 2016 shootout, he missed a penalty.

The Argentina teams who advanced to back-to-back World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990 were two of the least talented teams the country has fielded in the previous 50 years. Maradona was the one person responsible for bringing his nation to fame.

4. Big games

While Messi has frequently let Argentina down in crucial moments, his record with Barcelona in championship games is practically unmatched. He has consistently performed well under pressure and is one of a select few players to score in many Champions League finals.

Messi has 46 Champions League knockout goals, which is one more than Cristiano Ronaldo.

Maradona is unquestionably the greatest big-game player in international history, along with Pele. Despite being infamous for his drug-fueled antics, Maradona nearly always delivered at the club level in crucial games.

5. Cultural impact and legacy

Maradona raises the bar when it comes to having a significant cultural impact on an entire nation and city. Naples, the poorest city in Europe, was a “sewer” that was brutally exploited, ruled, and treated unfairly by the wealthy, industrial north.

Maradona led a squad that had only ever won two Italian Cups to Scudetto victory although Napoli was just barely avoiding relegation at the time of his arrival. 

As a result, he came to represent the struggle of the underdeveloped south against its northern oppressors. In Naples, where he attained godlike status, San Gennaro, the city’s patron saint, lost his place as the city’s most adored son.

Messi’s legacy fails to live up to expectations on the global stage. Because of his achievements in 1986, Maradona is revered in his native country.


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