Former Argentine midfielder, Mario Kempes, has called on football supporters to put an end to the constant comparisons between Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.
Kempes won the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot as the Argentine national team won the World Cup in 1978 but it is Maradona and Messi who are widely regarded as the country’s best ever players.
Maradona retired over twenty years ago from the sport but the constant debate continues in Argentina and beyond about whether he was better than Messi or not.
Kempes told El Universo, “Maradona is Maradona, that’s indisputable, but he doesn’t play anymore.
“He stopped playing a long time ago. Messi [still] runs and delights us. You can’t compare the two because they played in different eras, in different teams and with different teammates.
“We have to stop this. They say Maradona is God, but there’s only one God [points to the sky]!”
Messi has never won a World Cup or any major trophy with his country. He was named the tournament’s best player three years ago in Brazil, where they lost to Germany in the final.
Maradona, however led Argentina to lifted the trophy for a second time in 1986.
Kempes added, “When Diego won the World Cup in 1986, perhaps he had the luck that Messi has not had.
“Diego had very good teammates and things went well. Messi has good teammates, too, but what happened is that Diego, with the Hand of God, went to the final — and with the kick which the English players didn’t give him when he went past a number of them and scored that goal.
“So luck was on his side, too. They say that Messi lacks a World Cup? No! Why? [Alfredo] Di Stefano did not win a World Cup, neither did a lot of other players. It’s stupid.”