Former Argentina and Barcelona coach Cesar Luis Menotti believes the biggest difference between Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi is that the former was more of a fighter because of the difficulties he endured throughout his life and career.
Messi has often been likened to his illustrious compatriot for his style of play and the duo are widely regarded as two of the greatest ever.
Menotti has nothing but praise for both of his fellow Argentines, but sees one notable difference between the two.
“Diego was more rebellious than Messi. When something did not go his way, he got angry with himself. He was a great team-mate who was very supportive,” Menotti told Sport.
“But he comes from a different background than Leo. He came from a very humble neighbourhood and took one step at a time, first at Argentinos Juniors and then at Boca Juniors. He endured more difficulties not just on the pitch, but in life in general as well. Diego was more of a fighter. They are different characters.
“But Messi never gives up either. He expresses himself in a different way than Maradona, but they both do magical things on the pitch.
“Messi has been fortunate enough to arrive at a club like Barcelona where he is surrounded by great players. Barcelona looked after him.”
Messi has guided Barcelona to numerous trophies over the past decade, but has failed to replicate his best form at international level.
His failure to deliver Argentina a major trophy has seen Messi receive his fair share of criticism, but Menotti feels the 29-year-old is not being treated correctly in his native country.
“Messi is happy at Barcelona, but it seems he is not allowed to be happy at Argentina,” Menotti added.
“We live in so much anguish that we do not allow him to be happy and because the environment is not good, the team does not manage to play well. Without Messi we would not have got through the first round at the World Cup. When everything appears to fall together for Argentina, Messi appears and he builds things back up.
“But he is not happy because there is an environment of resentfulness. This is how we live. To have a five-star footballer, you have to respect him and take care of him. We have not done that well.”
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