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Lionel Messi "can't rival Diego Maradona" even with World Cup win

Ryan Sidle

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| Last updated 

Lionel Messi "can't rival Diego Maradona" even with World Cup win

Lionel Messi still won't be the greatest footballer of all time, even if he wins the World Cup, at least according to Ally McCoist.

In Qatar Messi has done as much as possible, to this point, to prove his worth to Argentina, as they attempt to become world champions for the first time since 1986.

He scored a much needed goal in the win over Mexico, after the loss to Saudi Arabia, and again notched the winner in the last 16 game with Australia.

In the quarter-final with Netherlands, the Paris Saint-Germain star set up the opener with a magical assist, scored the second and then showed the guts to go up first in the penalty shoot-out, and placed his effort safely home.

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It puts Messi and Argentina just two wins away from sporting immortality, as they look to become champions of the world, for just the third time in their country's history.

Until last year, the seven time Ballon d'Or winner had never won a major trophy with his country, until he lead them to the Copa America.

It was the one thing missing from his CV but with that secured, some fans still believe he needs the World Cup to solidify his status as the greatest ever.

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However, everyone's favourite co-commentator, McCoist, believes even a victory in Qatar would still leave the 35-year-old behind Diego Maradona.

"Even with all of the focus about whether Messi could ever equal what Maradona did and the debate about who is the best and who isn’t, they’ll be desperate," McCoist's talkSPORT colleague Andy Townsend said on the radio station.

"The current players will be desperate to get him over the line on that debate.

"Would winning this World Cup settle that debate?”

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Maradona is attributed to winning the World Cup single handedly. Image: Alamy
Maradona is attributed to winning the World Cup single handedly. Image: Alamy

McCoist wasn't having it, replying, "No, no. Not for me. I think that Maradona just about won one by himself and it’s just impossible to compare them.

"The biggest thing is – and I don’t care what anybody says – if anybody has watched the Netflix documentary about Maradona, the tackling is brutal. It’s not just bad or a yellow-card offence, I’m telling you, it’s brutal.

"The ‘Butcher of Bilbao’, Andoni Goikoetxea, should have got six months for snapping his ankle. That was a different era, a completely different era.

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"Is Messi one of the most gifted players ever? Absolutely. He’s one of the most gifted footballers that I’ve ever seen.

"But Messi and Maradona are incomparable because they played in a different era. They almost played in a different sport!"

Messi celebrates making it to the semi-finals. Image: Alamy
Messi celebrates making it to the semi-finals. Image: Alamy

Messi certainly did his best 'hand of God' impression with his blatant handball in the quarter-final vs Netherlands, and his failure to pick up a yellow card led to some wild conspiracy theories, particularly from Portugal players.

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And the former Barcelona forward's ex teammate at the Nou Camp, Zlatan Ibrahimovic certainly believes that the forward is about to win it all.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, Football World Cup, Lionel Messi, Argentina, Diego Maradona

Ryan Sidle
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