Fabio Capello: Diego Maradona had better Argentina team-mates than Lionel Messi

Argentina's coach Diego Maradona (R) spe

The Copa America may well be Lionel Messi's last chance to finally win a major honour with Argentina.

That quest got off to the worst possible start with a 2-0 defeat to Colombia on Saturday.

As a result, international glory continues to be the one black mark against the record of arguably the greatest player of all time.

Fuelling Messi's critics, especially in his homeland, has been the fact that Diego Maradona, who could also reasonably lay claim to that title, lifted the World Cup in 1986.

The Barcelona forward may yet feature in Qatar in 2022, but by that time he will be 35.

Indeed, it would be perfectly understandable if he had given up on securing silverware with his country in light of their performances at the biggest tournaments over the last few years.

There is a growing consensus that Messi has had to do it all on his own.

In Russia 2018, when Argentina narrowly escaped their group after a draw with Iceland and a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Croatia, his cause wasn't helped by hapless performances from the likes of Willy Caballero and Nicolas Otamendi.

Maradona, in contrast, achieved his greatest achievement in a side featuring Sergio Batista, Ricardo Giusti, and one in which he linked up superbly with Jorge Burruchaga.


Former England boss Fabio Capello believes that has to be taken into account as a mitigating factor when judging the two players against each other, especially in the context of Messi's perceived shortcomings with Argentina.

"People talk about both, but Maradona's Argentina were stronger and had more quality than Messi's," Capello told Radio Marca, per Goal.

"He's had good players in front of him, but in midfield and behind he has missed a defence. That's the important problem.

"Messi is extraordinary, he lives thinking about playing and not about business, like for example Neymar does."

The current crop is hardly short of star names, though they have also been blighted by a series of poor managerial appointments.

History will not be kind to Messi, however, if he doesn't lift the trophy in just over a fortnight's time.

Who was the better player - Maradona or Messi? Have your say in the comments.

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