Former goalkeeper on why Lionel Messi is ahead of Diego Maradona

Argentineans have long been engaged in the debate as to who’s the better Argentine player – Lionel Messi or Diego Maradona – and the controversy continues to rage on regarding which among the two is the best to lace up a pair of boots for the football-crazy South American nation.

Hoping to provide a outsider’s perspective, former Paraguayan goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert has weighed in on the issue in an interview with TyC Sports (via Marca) ahead of Argentina’s FIFA World Cup Qualifying fixture against Paraguay.

The 56-year-old gave his views on the differences between the two players and opined that Messi would be his pick were he to choose one.

“Once I told a colleague of yours who asked me if I would stop Messi in a heads-up, and I said yes, I would stop everything. The journalist asked me how I would do it and I answered – ‘Control… I have it from the Playstation, I stop it when I want. It is the only way to stop Lionel!’” Chilavert said.

“In Argentina, many put that Maradona is better than Messi, for me Maradona was predictable and Messi is unpredictable. That is the difference.”

Chilavert also elaborated further on what demarcated Messi from the likes of Maradona, citing that the ball seems to be glued to the 34-year-old’s foot and adds that Messi’s free-kick abilities in the ways he executes them is something highly laudable.

“Lionel has the ball tied to his foot, he plays so naturally and if he faces you hand in hand you don’t know whether to run away to reduce him or stay because you know that there is always a new technique to what a normal player is. It is very difficult, for example in the free throws that he executes with such precision at the angles that I want to applaud him,” Chilavert said.

“When Messi is going to take a free-kick, I have to try to guess it to get there, but when Maradona kicked them, for example when I had to face him with Vélez and that famous free-kick outside the barrier, I already knew that he was going to hit the outside because of how it stopped. Then I fly and get it out.”

Well, Maradona diehards would argue passionately that the former Argentine great has a FIFA World Cup, one which Messi has yet to win, which he possibly has a chance to win next year in Qatar.

Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia