Argentinian football great Mario Kempes, who played a crucial role in Argentina’s World Cup triumph in 1978, has said that Messi cannot be compared to Maradona. Lionel Messi scored four goals and registered five assists in six matches as he led Argentina to the pinnacle of success in the recently concluded Copa America. The continental tournament became a Messi show through and through as the 34-year-old played to his best potential helping Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 in the final. As a result, la Albiceleste ended their 28-year drought of major trophies. Simultaneously, Messi also broke the team’s record for international appearances with 151 matches.
Before the Copa final victory over Brazil, Messi’s silverware with Argentina included the U-20 World Cup (2005) and a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
However, despite his best efforts, a former Argentine legend is still not convinced that his fellow countryman can be deemed as the greatest of all time eclipsing late Diego Maradona.
“For Messi, the misfortune is that he was the replacement for Diego Maradona,” Kempes said, as per Marca. “And it is very difficult to overshadow Diego, with the idolatry that he has received around the world. If (Messi) wants to be better than Maradona, he is not going to achieve it even if he wins four World Cups in a row. He still hasn’t won the World Cup. No matter how many wins or what he wins, it can never be compared to what Diego did.”
The 34-year-old is currently on a three-week vacation after guiding Argentina to their first major international trophy in 28 years. The Messi-led team defeated Brazil 1-0 in the Copa America final at the Maracana, Rio de Janeiro.
Messi and Barcelona are closer to signing a new deal that would keep him at the club through the end of his career. The captain is reportedly prepared to accept an offer of a five-year contract at 50% of his previous salary.
Messi has won 35 club titles in 17 seasons with Barcelona, including four UEFA Champions Leagues, and set club records for goals (672) and appearances (778).