Lionel Messi vs Diego Maradona: We review the sports career of the two Argentine stars to analyze the statistics, titles, and prizes that they accumulate in their many years of sporting glory and that are the histories of this sport.
It could be said that we are facing one of the most open and exciting football debates, Lionel Messi vs Diego Armando Maradona. Two absolute football legends, both Argentines, both geniuses with a ball at their feet.
It is almost impossible to convince people on this subject; people seem determined to be ‘Team Diego’ or ‘Team Leo’. As we like challenges, we are going to analyze the career of both footballers to shed some light on this entertaining debate about two of the best players in history.
Lionel Messi vs Diego Maradona
Let’s go with the comparison of the two most important Argentines of the 20th and 21st centuries, both in individual and collective numbers. Even with the data in hand, I’m sure you’ll still be Maradona’s or Messi’s, but therein lies the magic. Think what you want, that’s what football is for!
Who was better, Messi or Maradona?
Individual titles and awards
In a matter of pure numbers, Messi is the clear winner. He has won 13 league titles to Maradona’s three and 27 national trophies to Diego’s eight. Messi also has 10 continental and international club crowns for Maradona’s.
In the national team, Messi has won two senior titles (Copa América 2021 and the Finalissima ) while Maradona has won the World Cup. In total, including FIFA-recognized youth tournaments, Messi has won 41 team titles. Maradona won 11.
When it comes to top individual honors, it’s very hard to compare the pair. Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or award up to seven times, establishing a record that only Cristiano Ronaldo (5) comes close to.
Note that Maradona was not eligible for football’s most prestigious personal award until 1995 when the rules were changed to allow non-Europeans to challenge.
By then, Maradona was 35 years old. Soccer’s other esteemed individual honor – the FIFA World Player of the Year – was not created until 1991, when Maradona was 31 years old. Messi has twice won the FIFA award.
MESSI HAS WON 42 TITLES FOR THE 11 THAT MARADONA WON, BOTH A WORLD CUP...TOTAL TITLES
Similarly, Messi has been named La Liga’s Best Player nine times .Keep in mind that the Serie A equivalent of this award was not created until 1997, long after Maradona left. No one doubts that he would have taken it from the street.
Both players won the FIFA World Cup Ballon d’Or, under different circumstances. One did it after being proclaimed world champion while Messi after losing the final against Germany. In Qatar 2022 Leo took off his thorn and won his long-awaited World Cup, being the MVP of the tournament and scoring two goals in the final.
One of the distinctions that only ‘Fluff’ has at the moment is that of having been named FIFA Player of the Century in 2000 together with Pelé.
Longevity as a footballer
Both Maradona and Messi were early stars, although Diego reached a world-class level at a younger age. He was the youngest rookie in history in the Argentine Primera División at the age of 15 and received his first call-up to the Argentine national team at the age of 16. At 20 he had already scored over 100 goals at the senior club and broke the world transfer record at 21 when he joined FC Barcelona.
Messi made his Barcelona debut at 17 and Argentina at 18, although he didn’t become a regular starter for either team until his 19th birthday. At the age of 20, he had already scored 26 goals for Barcelona, so his scoring potential had not yet been unlocked.
MARADONA STOOD OUT BEFORE, MESSI HAS REMAINED BETTER AFTERLONGEVITY
The two Argentines were consistently world-class throughout their twenties, though Messi has been well above thirty. Since he turned 30, Messi has scored more than 100 goals, winning his sixth Ballon d’Or and lifting two league titles. In fact, the ‘Flea’ is considered the best player in the history of Barcelona, both by statistics and titles.
Maradona’s professional and personal life after the age of 30 fell apart following drug-related problems and a lackluster season at Sevilla FC before he endured the end of his career through injury in Argentina.
Goal scoring figures and incidence in the game
The flea is well above Maradona when it comes to general objectives. Messi has scored more than 790 goals for his club and his country – only two players in history have more – and has won a record six European Golden Boots. Leo holds countless other goalscoring records, including being the all-time top scorer for Barcelona, Argentina, and La Liga. He also holds the European record for most goals scored in a single club season (73) and in a calendar year (91).
Maradona scored 344 goals in total during his career, less than half that of Messi. Diego was Napoli’s all-time top scorer for almost 30 years until he was surpassed by Marek Hamsik. He was the top scorer in his league six times, while Messi has won the Pichichi Trophy eight times. Maradona scored 34 times in 91 games for Argentina, while Messi already has more than 70 goals with Argentina.
LEO HAS SCORED MORE THAN 760 GOALS TO MARADONA'S 344. DESPITE THE DIFFERENCE IN GAMES, THE SCORING AVERAGE IS ON THE SIDE OF THE 'FLEA'QUESTION OF GOALS
However, it must be recognized that, in addition to having played 200 fewer games, Maradona played a more important and profound role in the most prolific years of his career compared to Messi. At Napoli, he was primarily positioned as an attacking midfielder behind two forwards but regularly dropped into his own half to initiate attacks.
Maradona also played in a very defensive Italian league, whereas in Serie A there were only 16 teams for most of his seven years there (La Liga has 20) and there were far fewer games in European competition before the advent of La Liga. of Champions in the 1990s.
Messi has few rivals for the title of best single-club man in football history. Certainly, no one can boast the levels of consistency that Messi has displayed at Barcelona for the better part of 15 years. His departure from him to PSG may be the ultimate test of Leo’s adaptation to another team in a different country ( Ligue 1 ).
Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, argues that proving yourself in different teams, leagues, and environments is a greater barometer of one’s true greatness. To some, this will seem better than staying in the same club and managing to stay, a matter of taste.
MESSI HAS BEEN A CLUB MAN AND MARADONA TRIUMPHED IN DIFFERENT TEAMS AND LEAGUESADAPTABILITY
While Messi has stayed in his comfort zone, Maradona was consistently the best player in the Argentine and Italian leagues. , earning multiple honors for three different teams.
Contrary to popular opinion, Pelusa also excelled during his two seasons at Barcelona, scoring 38 goals in 58 games and winning a Copa del Rey. . The comparison with Messi in this sense makes the figures and the title less.
The international career of Maradona and Messi
Lionel Messi equals Maradona after conquering glory in 2022. Now, the debate seems to be leaning toward the Flea upon reaching the Olympus of the gods with his beloved Argentina.
Although Leo has surpassed Diego in the national colors, he has had a much lower performance than the Albiceleste in the big tournaments. In 2021, Rosario managed to win the Copa América after three previous lost finals. A title that has been the most celebrated of his career.
In four World Cups, Messi failed to score a single goal in qualifying. Although he was named the best player of the 2014 World Cup, the decision to award him the FIFA Ballon d’Or was universally criticized.
He also came up short in his five Copa América appearances, scoring goals in just two ties and failing to score in any finals. It should be noted that he missed a penalty in 2016. In 2021, he removed his thorn and managed to be the best in the tournament, scoring four goals and distributing five assists.
In favor of Messi, it can be said that he would have won a World Cup if Gonzalo Higuaín had been more successful. Also that the Argentina team of those editions was not the favorite, with a defensive line, goal, and half of a medium or low level.
MARADONA TURNED A MEDIOCRE TEAM INTO WORLD CHAMPIONS, MESSI TOOINTERNATIONAL CAREER
In fact, in terms of individual quality, the Argentine squads that reached successive World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990 were not the most powerful Argentina has had in its history. Jorge Valdano was the only 1986 starter who was truly a star for a European club, though that doesn’t mean he was a bad team. In this sense, we could say that they were even, there was no team to win.
It was Maradona who, single-handedly, dragged his country to glory. His exploits in sensational matches against England and Belgium in the quarter- and semi-finals, before giving a late assist to final goalscorer Jorge Burruchaga, are the stuff of legend. He was also fundamental in leading the Argentine National Team to the final four years later.
He provided a brilliant assist for Claudio Caniggia in the match against Brazil in the round of 16 and turned his adoptive city of Naples into a semi-final match against his national team, in a victory against the hosts and the favorites.
Great matches, great football moments
The story wasn’t over yet, Leo appeared for the Albiceleste when they needed him. Major tournament of the Argentine in Qatar 2022.
His record in exhibition games for Barcelona is almost unmatched. He is one of the few players to have scored in more than one Champions League final and has delivered regularly when the pressure is on; his double in the 2011 semifinal against Real Madrid is a perfect example of this.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals in Champions League qualifying than Messi’s 46. Leo also holds the record for the most assists (14) in the round of 16. Domestically he is just as impressive with a record 26 goals in El Clásico.
MARADONA APPEARED IN THE BIG EVENTS IN ARGENTINA, MESSI DID IT IN THOSE OF FC BARCELONA AND IN THE END, ALSO WITH ARGENTINAMAGICAL NIGHTS
Along with Pele, Maradona is arguably the best big-game player in international history and, despite being notorious for his drug-related antics, he almost always delivered at the club level in key matches.
Maradona scored an elegant golden goal against AC Milan in the 1987 Scudetto run, gave inspiration against Juventus, Bayern Munich, and Stuttgart on the road to 1989 UEFA Cup glory, and enjoyed a spectacular end to the season in 1990 when Napoli wrested another league title from AC Milan.
Club level performance
The only hole Maradona has on his club resume is the European Cup (the current Champions League ). While Messi has won four Champions Leagues and set numerous records, Maradona has only played two seasons and six games, scoring two goals.
However, it must be recognized that during the Maradona era, only the winners of their domestic leagues qualified for a European Cup that lasted a maximum of nine games. If today’s rules had been applied, then Maradona would have enjoyed several seasons and dozens of matches in the current Champions League.
Diego also inspired Napoli to win the UEFA Cup, a competition that was in many ways more difficult to win than the European Cup due to the presence of the second, third and fourth-best teams in each league.
MARADONA NEVER WON A EUROPEAN CUP BECAUSE OF THE FOUR THAT MESSI HASAT THE CLUBS LEVEL
Messi’s club resume is undoubtedly more impressive from a numerical point of view, but it must be recognized that football in the eighties was much more competitive than it is today.
The Serie A of that decade was possibly the most contested competition in history, and practically all the teams had one or two world-class stars; from Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, and Frank Rijkaard at mighty AC Milan to Zico and Edinho at humble Udinese.
During the seven years that Diego spent in Italy, there were six different Serie A winners and the same number of European Cup and UEFA Cup winners.
Today most of the big leagues have been monopolized by one or two wealthy ‘superclubs’. Barcelona and Real Madrid have shared 14 of the last 15 La Liga titles and eight Champions Leagues at the same time. Therefore, it has been much easier for Messi to accumulate trophies and goals from big clubs.
Modern attackers have also benefited greatly from the relaxation of the offside rule, the advancement of sports science, better pitches, and more protective referees. Messi has received a good number of kicks but never like some of those that went unpunished when Maradona was active. You can ask the “Bilbao Butcher”, Andoni Goikoetxea.
Along with Johan Cruyff, no person in Barcelona’s history has left such an indelible mark on the club. Leo has broken virtually every possible record – many of which are unlikely to be broken – and has taken the Blaugrana to heights never seen before.
It has provided so many unforgettable moments of genius – the Maradona-style run against Getafe, the four goals against Arsenal, Jerome Boateng’s humiliation as one of the Champions League’s best goals – the list goes on. At the club level, Messi’s global legacy is comparable to that of anyone.
When it comes to the cultural impact on an entire country and a city, Maradona raises the bar to another level. Naples was the poorest city in Europe – a “sewer” that was dominated, exploited, and discriminated against by the rich industrial north.
MARADONA HAS TRANSCENDED BEYOND FOOTBALL BOTH IN ARGENTINA AND IN NAPLES. HIS LEGACY IS UNMATCHEDCULTURAL REFERENCE
When Maradona arrived, Napoli had just avoided relegation, but he dragged a team that had only won two Italian Cups in its history, the Scudetto, to glory. In doing so, he became the symbol of the struggle of the poor in the south against their masters in the north. He achieved god status in Naples, replacing the city’s patron saint, San Gennaro, as Naples’ most beloved son.
It is on the international stage that Messi’s legacy falls short. Maradona has achieved immortality in his homeland for his exploits in 1986. He is remembered worldwide for having won soccer’s most emblematic award virtually alone and for having scored the greatest and most controversial goals in history against England.
In the case of Messi, it cannot be said that he has received the same love from the Argentine fans. He is not considered a “man of the people” like Maradona and even Carlos Tevez was, and he has never played in the Argentine league either.
From a technical and physical point of view, there is nothing that separates the careers of Maradona and Messi, certainly at their peak. Messi has maintained his physical form and his performance throughout his career, although Maradona was far superior mentally in terms of leadership. He had the ability to inspire ‘ordinary’ teammates from Napoli and Argentina to glory.
We could say that Messi is the best club player of all time, with Maradona being the best in history overall due to his international heroism.
Beyond the comparison between the two, we must enjoy both careers (especially Messi’s, who is still active). And you, if you had to keep only one player, would you choose Maradona or Leo?