Lionel or Diego? Cassano says Messi is greater than Maradona

Lionel Messi said to be greater than countryman Diego Maradona.

Just accept it, Maradona fans! Former Italy international Antonio Cassano has said that Lionel Messi has “ousted” Diego Maradona as Argentina’s greatest number 10.

Messi’s consistency over such a long period has made him the finest player Argentina has produced according to Cassano, who has called for Maradona’s fans to accept that the Barcelona talisman deserves to be recognised as the best.

Cassano helped Real Madrid to the 2006-07 La Liga title at the expense of Barca and Messi, but that success in Spain has not altered his opinion on the forward.

Maradona helped Argentina cop the World Cup in 1986. Messi is yet to do so.

“Maradona did something never seen before for four or five years, but Messi has done the same things for 15 years,” he said in an interview with Corriere dello Sport. “He has made 710 goals and 300 assists. When he plays you start with a 1-0 lead. The ‘Maradonians’ have to accept it: there is someone who has ousted him.”

Goal‘s recent Mythbuster series looked into the theory that Maradona was better than Messi because he singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina at Mexico 1986.

Also during his interview, Cassano revealed that, prior to Messi moving to the top of the list, he believed Brazil striker Ronaldo—a former Madrid teammate—was the game’s greatest.

“We were losing 1-0 at home,” Cassano recalled. “The whole stadium was whistling, especially him [Ronaldo]. In the locker room, the coach removes Ronnie to put [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy on, but he [Ronaldo] stops him and says ‘No, you take me off in 15 minutes if I haven’t scored two goals’. “Minute 15: 2-1 and two goals from Ronaldo. I said that if there is a football god, it is Ronaldo. Then I discovered that Messi is above him.”

Antonio Cassano says Messi is greater than Maradona. (Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

However, Ronaldo’s former teammate Cafu believes Brazilian superstar Neymar has more technical ability than Messi.