Diego Maradona gives a blunt assessment of Lionel Messi after Champions League clash against Napoli

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Former Napoli and Argentina international superstar Diego Maradona has taken a swipe at Lionel Messi following Barcelona’s Champions League draw against Napoli. Maradona also reignited the debate on the greatest player of all time with claims that the Barcelona star could never match what he has achieved while at Napoli. 

Argentina legend Maradona believes his fellow compatriot Messi is ”in decline” after watching Barcelona’s 1-1 Champions League draw against his former side Napoli on Tuesday. However, the former footballer said Napoli would be far better if they ”could have a Messi” to help replicate the club’s greatest era in which he played for Napoli during the 1980s. When mentioning the greatest players of all time, Maradona and Messi are two players who are widely mentioned along with the likes of Pele, Johan Cruyff, and Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Messi who has helped Barcelona win many titles is enjoying a glittering career at Camp Nou, one which is similar to Maradona’s who inspired Napoli to their most successful period in the Serie A club’s history. 

Although famously known worldwide for his starring role in Argentina’s 1986 World Cup triumph, Maradona is considered an icon in Naples. The former forward led Napoli to their only two Serie A titles during the 1886/87 and 1989/90 campaigns. With Messi getting ready to retire soon, Maradona was asked if he feels the 32-year-old could surpass his achievements if he were to join Napoli. 

Speaking on Messi’s form going into Tuesday’s Champions League match, Maradonna said, ”Messi arrived at San Paolo in decline.”

“Messi has not lived the life I have. Leo could play extraordinarily in Naples, but he would not be able to do what I did. Let’s be clear about that” The former footballer added. 

The former Napoli forward reminisced on the club’s two titles as well as being runners up twice during his spell at the club. He recounted his other achievements like winning the Coppa Italia in 1887, the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Italian Supercup in 1990. He was also the club’s top scorer with 115 goals a record he held up until 2017 when it was broken by Marek Hamsik. 

By comparison, Messi has done pretty well for himself and could arguably be seen as a better player than Maradonna if we are to go by titles. The Catalan giants forward have 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League triumphs to his name. 

And while Maradonna is adamant Messi would never be able to outdo his achievements in Naples, the former footballer said he would love for Messi to sign with his former club when considering a club to retire at.