Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has made his choice in the debate over his country’s greatest ever footballer: Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi.
Messi finally matched Maradona’s international achievements in 2022 when he captained La Albiceleste to the World Cup, just as El Diego did in 1986.
For many, it was seen as Messi’s crowning glory capping off a glittering career that was already filled with countless club trophies, awards and records.
Scaloni has coached Messi at international level, first as an assistant and later as head coach, since 2017. But he grew up in the 1980s when Maradona was at the height of his powers and first achieved godlike status in Argentina.
“If I have to choose one, I will choose Leo, with whom I have something special,” Scaloni told El Partizado de COPE when asked to try to separate the two.
“He is the best in history, although Maradona was also great. Messi’s training is not difficult. It cannot be fixed on a technical level, but sometimes there is pressure or the method of attack is explained to him. Pressing, stealing balls and when there is blood is number one.”
With the World Cup in his personal trophy cabinet, Messi has literally won it all. His long wait for international triumphs finally ended in 2021 when Argentina won the Copa America, while he went one better when he secured the global title in Qatar last month.
Given his personal influence on Argentina’s journey to glory, Messi is widely expected to win the eighth Ballon d’Or of his career at the 2022/23 ceremony.