Following the news of Diego Maradona’s passing, football fans are again asking themselves which player deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time.
Maradona, Pele, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or another legend of the game, perhaps?
Whatever your opinion, all of these players will forever be part of the conversation.
For many, Messi has surpassed the achievements of Maradona, Pele and every other player over the course of his remarkable career.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner may not have won the World Cup – unlike Maradona and Pele – but he was crowned the best player of the tournament in Brazil six years ago and has been consistently spectacular with Barcelona over the past 15 years.
One man who didn’t realise quite how good Messi was until he became his teammate is Kevin-Prince Boateng.
The former Ghana international completed a shock loan move to Barcelona in 2019 and had the pleasure of playing and training alongside the Argentine forward.
Boateng says he was always convinced that Ronaldo was the world’s best footballer, until he trained with Messi.
“Training with Messi left me speechless. I had always said that Cristiano Ronaldo was the best in the world, but Messi is something else. He’s not normal.
“While training with him, I felt inadequate for the first time in my career. He was doing incredible things. I felt like saying, ‘I’m done, I’m going to quit playing!'”
Messi was so brilliant that his talent made Boateng want to hang up his boots. That’s superb.
Other players who’ve had the privilege of training alongside Ronaldo, rather than Messi, have probably felt similar to Boateng down the years.
But in the eyes of Boateng, that six-month period at Camp Nou showed him that Messi was on a different level to everyone else.