Diego Maradona: Lionel Messi 'Will Never Be A Leader'

Diego Maradona has taken aim at Lionel Messi after claiming that he would never be a leader.

The 58-year-old Argentine legend, who once managed the Barcelona captain for Argentina, called the 31-year-old forward a "phenomenon."

However, that didn't stop Maradona from criticising Messi as a leader.

"I love him with all my heart, he is a phenomenon, but they want to make him a leader, and he will never be a leader," he said (via ESPN).

"He will always stay in his sporting, family and football world."

Maradona is not the only football legend to take a dig at the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Last year, Pelé launched a scathing attack on the Argentine ace by claiming that Maradona was much better than him.

"As far as I'm concerned, Maradona was one of the best players ever," he told Folha de Sao Paulo. "If you ask me: 'Was he better than Messi?' Yes, he was. Much better.

"[Franz] Beckenbauer, [Johan] Cruyff are also better. They're also excellent players."

The 78-year-old three-time World Cup winner wasn't done there, suggesting that he only has "one leg."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and doesn't head the ball well?" he explained. "How can you compare?

"To compare with Pelé, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right and scores headers."

Despite Pelé and Maradona's criticism of Messi, he will be returning to international duty this year for the Copa América.

The Argentina captain has helped take his side to the finals of the World Cup in 2014 and the Copa América on three occasions (2007, 2015 and 2016).

Is Messi a leader or not?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Adnan Riaz

Adnan Riaz is a journalist for SPORTbible. He studied for a B.A. in History at the University of York and followed it up with an M.A. in Multimedia Journalism at MMU. Before he started writing about sports, he spent over four years in the gaming press. He has worked for several publications, including Hardcore Gamer, LADbible and the Manchester Evening News. Follow him on Twitter to find out what he is working on next. Got a story tip for Adnan? Email him: [email protected]

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