Fiorentina and Argentina legend Gabriel Batistuta says Lionel Messi isn’t on the same level as Diego Maradona and “probably never will be”.
The Barcelona superstar is seen as perhaps the best attacking player ever to play the game, with many citing El Diego and Pelé as his only competition in that regard.
La Pulga is the Argentine national team’s all-time top goalscorer, but the man he took the record from doesn’t think he’s the best Argentinian player of all time.
“Diego was the best ever,” Batistuta told Corriere dello Sport.
“Diego also represented Argentinians in many things, not just football. He has charisma, talent and rare invention.
“Messi, even if he’s technically as good - or maybe even better - can’t surpass him. Lionel doesn’t have Maradona’s charisma.
“Diego could command a stadium, everyone watched him. I played with him, and I can tell you how technically decisive he was for the team.
“Maradona is poetry, Messi is prose.
“What Messi lacks compared to Maradona is this fantastic, almost dreamlike dimension. Even if he trains every hour of the day he can’t reach that state, because it’s not something that is only down to him.
“There were doubts about Messi in the past, in one way or another, but now there’s no longer a debate. Technically, he’s perfect; he’s scored more goals than anyone.
“But for me he’s not Diego, and he probably never will be.”