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Maradona vs. Messi... Who's better?

Updated on June 18, 2013
Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi - two legends from two different generations.
Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi - two legends from two different generations. | Source

This question is very popular nowadays. One thing is clear about both of them - they are legends. Diego Maradona was beloved by Napoli and whole Argentina, when he almost single-handedly won the World Cup in 1986. Lionel Messi now is just a 25 years old, but he already has won almost everything in his career. His scoring record has been astonishing in last few years and it looks, that there's still a space for progress. It's always really hard task to compare these two players, but still we can try. Here's some comparison of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Character, charisma

About character - it depends from your taste. Some people love calm and really simple characters, some have more sympathies to "bad boy" characters. They both are really opposite. Messi is like a perfect footballer. He does his job and only football matters for him. But he really lacks some charisma. And there comes Maradona! Charismatic, controversial and really interesting person. He always was in the middle of spotlights. Some people adored him, some people simply loved, some hated. Maradona had to fight against his own weaknesses, such as drugs. And he won that fight. That deserves a respect. I think in this category, Maradona looks a bit better candidate for win, than Messi.

Physical abilities

Both, Maradona and Messi look quite similar. Not a really tall stature, quite strong body, good pace and balance, which helps to get past opponent's defenders. But I would like to mention one moment as an advantage for Maradona. Overall, he was amazingly strong. Because most of his career, he was on drugs. Just imagine, what damage cocaine did to his body throughout those years. And another moment is era they both played. Maradona played in Serie A in 80's. There was a lot of really brutal defenders back then and in moments, when players now get red cards, back then they wouldn't get even a booking. Era has changed and Messi has never experienced such a brutality against him. Maradona did experience and that's a plus for him.


Well, here I can't tell which one is better. They both are superb. Sure, Messi has much more impressive statistics, than Maradona had, but that's once again a question of era they both played. As I wrote before, Maradona had to face much more cruel defenders on his way and it was really hard to get past them, as they gave a lot of attention to Diego. Now times has changed and with such a fantastic teammates, as Messi has - it's possible to score a lot more. But anyway I would rate them as equal. They both have fantastic skills and such a great ball control. You can only watch and enjoy the game of genius.


Career of Diego Maradona is well remembered by his performances in Napoli. Messi till now has been a one club man - a proud product of Barcelona youth system. It's hard to imagine that he would have a need to leave Spain. Maradona had experience with various clubs and that's a little plus for him, because one thing is to remain in club which raised you, but simply other is to face the new challenges, new managers and totally new teammates. But that's still not a reason that Messi should leave Barcelona. He will leave a great legacy there. Some more titles are coming this season.

World Cup

Yes, that's the main reason, why many think that Diego Maradona is better than Messi. It's a really hard task for every national team to win a World Cup, but it's even more harder for a one player to bring such a bright victory to his nation. Maradona did that and Argentine football fans will always remember and highly rate such peat. Messi still has plenty time to prove everyone, that he also can win a World Cup and make whole Argentina feel proud about it. If Messi will be able to win a WC trophy, I he will fully deserve a title of "The Best player in the history of football".

Maradona vs. Messi


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      Richard-Murray 5 years ago

      Well Maradona is better for me if I have to make a choice. You say it in the article, but it is usually forgotten by people how protective soccer has become. to be fair, not just soccer, but a lot of sports protect certain types of players today.I look at Neymar at Santos, imagine if Pele would have had that level of protection in Brazil. the same with Maradona. And, to be fair, if MAradona had of been on the Juventus or Milan of the 80's I could have been fairer to the statistics. But I have said it a billion times, part of messi's statistics is the team he plays on, and the league he is in. When I consider the EPL and how they let Chelsea's tricky players get bullied on a game by game basis, Messi would have had a bad injury by now in the EPL and during the 80's he would have been definitely slowed.

      I personally think no one was better at dribbling than Garrincha but the nature of soccer was so physical and accepted that he played hurt for far too long in his career.

      So, to be fair to both players, i continue my theme of non comparison. Maradona was the best active argentine of his time. Messi is the best active argentine of this time. Both have already done great things, though in Argentina, until messi wins the world cup, MAradona will still be king. And, that is why i think messi is so focused on scoring. If Messi could win the world cup in Brazil for Argentina, in Argentina his legend would be unparalleled. the problem for me with MEssi and international play is that argentina's squad isn't barca's. Argentina's top squad doesn't play like barca and that hurts messi, who isn't the kind of player to physically take over a game. It must be tactically, and in world cup's the inoperability of messi with argentina always shows itself.