Former AC Milan and Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi feels Diego Maradona was a better player than Lionel Messi and believes the Barcelona star does not have the same strong personality his compatriot had.
Messi is widely regarded as one of the best players in the history of the game and a has won a plethora of medals with Barcelona, while collecting the prestigious Ballon d’Or award on five occasions.
However, Sacchi believes Maradona has the edge as he proved his talent in LaLiga and Serie A with Barcelona and Napoli respectively.
“Messi is the best player in the world right now, but he lacks Maradona’s personality. Maradona could play anywhere. Diego made the difference in Spain and Italy,” Sacchi told La Nacion.
“Maradona and Alfredo Di Stefano are Argentina’s two greatest players ever. Playing against Maradona was the worst thing that could happen to you. I have never seen anyone like him. He could create something from out of nowhere.
“We once played against him with Milan and totally dominated. Then Diego got the ball, shook off two players and set up Careca, who scored the 1-0 for them. I have never seen someone who was so decisive.”
One of the criticisms levelled at Messi is his failure to match his supreme domestic record on the international stage with Argentina, while Maradona spearheaded the nation’s World Cup victory in 1986.
But Sacchi says that is an unfair comparison.
“A team has a certain potential and not even Messi can unlock that on his own. Argentina are missing a clear game plan. You can never rely on just one player,” Sacchi added.
“I once told Silvio Berlusconi that not even the greatest actors could save a movie without a great script, not even Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson or George Clooney.
“Football is the same. You need 11 players who are hugely motivated and want to play for the team. And a coach with a clear philosophy. Argentina are always among the favourites, but maybe they need more cohesion and team-spirit.”