Messi will never be better than Maradona – Kempes
Lionel Messi will never overtake Diego Maradona as the greatest player of all time, according to Argentina legend Mario Kempes.
There has long been a debate over who of the two footballing greats should be remembered as being the best.
One of the arguments often used against Messi was that he had never tasted major success with his country.
Meanwhile, Maradona achieved god-like status in Argentina after he virtually single-handedly led his nation to glory at the 1986 World Cup.
Messi wins 2021 Copa America
However, last week Messi finally ended his international curse as Argentina defeated Brazil 1-0 at the Maracana to win the 2021 Copa America.
This represented the first major international title of Messi’s career and immediately led to some arguing that he is now indeed the best ever.
However, according to Kempes – who was Argentina’s hero when they won the 1978 World Cup – Messi will never overtake Maradona.
"For Messi, the misfortune is that he was the replacement for Diego Maradona," Kempes told ESPN Mexico.
"And it is very difficult to overshadow Diego, with the idolatry that he has received around the world
"If [Messi] wants to be better than Maradona, he is not going to achieve it even if he wins four World Cups in a row.
"He still hasn't won the World Cup. No matter how many [titles he] wins or what he wins, it can never be compared to what Diego did."
Messi favourite to win Ballon d'Or
Messi was the top scorer and top assist man at the 2021 Copa America, and he is the overwhelming favourite to win this year’s Ballon d’Or.
The 34-year-old will be hoping to claim the one major title that still eludes him next year at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Messi is currently a free agent after his Barcelona contract expired last month, but he is expected to sign a new five-year contract imminently.