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L. Messi

Messi has NOT overtaken Maradona as Argentina's greatest player after World Cup win, insists Zanetti

12:47 EAT 20/12/2022
Lionel Messi Diego Maradona
Javier Zanetti has insisted that Lionel Messi has not overtaken Diego Maradona in Argentina's hall of fame after lifting the 2022 World Cup.
  • Messi spearheaded Argentina's win
  • Won the Golden Ball award
  • Zanetti insists Maradona still ahead of Messi

WHAT HAPPENED? Messi was the standout performer of the 2022 World Cup with seven goals and three assists, including a brace in the final that helped Argentina beat France to land their third title. The Argentine skipper also picked up a record-breaking second Golden Ball for his efforts in Qatar, but Zanetti does not think it's enough to surpass the deeds of Maradona, who inspired his country to glory at the 1986 World Cup.

WHAT THEY SAID: Former Argentina captain Zanetti, who played alongside Messi at international level between 2005 and 2011, told Stats Perform when asked if the Paris Saint-Germain star has overtaken Maradona: "No, not for me. I don't like [the] comparison. We have to be grateful that the two greatest [players] in history are Argentines. I don't think [Messi] has changed. I think he is more mature now and he was able to transmit his leadership to the rest of the group this time."

Zanetti added on Argentina landing their first global crown in 36 years: "It's a great emotion that the lads gave us because we have been waiting for it for a long time. I think they made it happen, the dream of millions of Argentinian fans around the world. It was a great final for us Argentines because it seemed it was all going in our way but then France had a great reaction."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: On the road to victory, Messi broke a couple of World Cup records. He is now the player with the most appearances (26) in the World Cup finals, overtaking Germany legend Lothar Matthaus. The 35-year-old also became Argentina's top scorer in World Cup competition ahead of Gabriel Batistuta after he converted a penalty against Croatia in the semi-final.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MESSI? The forward is expected to return to competitive action with PSG against Strasbourg in Ligue 1 on December 28.