Hector Enrique claims Lionel Messi will never reach Diego Maradona's level

Argentina's striker Lionel Messi (R) is

It seems remarkable to European fans, but there are many Argentinians that don't even consider Lionel Messi the best player their country has produced.

In an age where the Barcelona star is openly declared as the greatest of all-time, it most definitely feels strange but the love for Diego Maradona is almost unprecedented in Argentina.

There can be little doubting that Maradona deserves his place in the conversation of football's greatest and during his peak, nobody came close to his remarkable talent.

You'd struggle to name a player that topped him throughout the 1980s and his performances that inspired Argentina to the 1986 World Cup will endure for decades.

And there perhaps, lies the crux of the argument that leaves so many Argentineans thinking - rightly or wrongly - that their former superstar eclipses the current model.

Messi vs Maradona

The biggest argument against Messi being the greatest player in history is his lack of international success, losing in three Copa America climaxes and one World Cup final.

It's for that reason and his indifferent performances for his country, that Argentina fans don't seem to hold the same affection for Messi, although we're speaking generally, of course.

However, it seems the supporters aren't alone and now former Argentina coach Hector Enrique has cast his opinion on the enduring Messi vs Maradona debate.

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Hector Enrique gives his thoughts

Enrique was part of the Argentina squad that won the World Cup in 1986, before serving as his country's assistant coach during the 2010 campaign that featured Messi.

Therefore, having worked with both players, Enrique is more than qualified to give his thoughts and he did just that during an interview with Ataque Futbolero.

"Messi, unfortunately, has had a hard time in the national team," the 56-year-old explained.

"I hope that in the next World Cup he will have the luck we had, but Messi will never reach Maradona's level.

"What I want is for Messi to play. If he is not having a good time [in the team], it's better not to come."

So there you have it, Enrique has no doubt in his mind that Maradona is the superior player and that his successor will fall short of matching his achievements.

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Enrique also alluded to the enigma that surrounds Messi's performances for his country and despite scoring 65 goals on the international scene, he just hasn't looked himself.

The Spanish commented on how fatigued and tired he looked during the recent Venezuela defeat, suggesting he was struggling to keep up with the club-international schedule.

Either that or Enrique might argue that he's wilting in Maradona's shadow. We'll let you decide.

Who do you think is the better player - Messi or Maradona? Have your say in the comments section below.

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