Diego Maradona “is and will remain” the greatest ever, says Gabriel Batistuta, who believes Lionel Messi lacks the charisma to match him.
Lionel Messi will never be able to match Diego Maradona as the greatest ever footballer as he lacks the World Cup winner’s charisma, according to fellow Argentina great Gabriel Batistuta.
There has long been a debate over whether Messi has surpassed Maradona’s status as arguably the best of all time, with the Barcelona man’s lack of success at international level often seen to count against him.
But Batistuta – Argentina’s record goalscorer prior to Messi – believes there is more to it than that, lauding Maradona for his personality as much as his skill.
“For me, [Maradona] was the greatest of all,” Batistuta told Corriere dello Sport.
“Diego also represents Argentina in many things, not just football. He was the first player that took us to the stars, winning the World Cup. He has charisma, he had a rare talent and imagination.
“Messi, even if technically he is the same or perhaps superior, cannot match him. Lionel lacks Maradona’s charisma.
“Diego could command a stadium, have everyone watch him. I played with him and I can tell you how technically decisive he was for the team. I saw what happens in life when you are next to Diego.
“Although I do not agree with many things that he does – his lifestyle choices are not mine, I’m almost the opposite – we both have a good relationship and, for me, he is and will remain the greatest.”