Lionel Scaloni reveals his favourite between Diego Maradona & Lionel Messi

Lionel Scaloni has coached Lionel Messi but grew up watching Diego Maradona
Lionel Scaloni has coached Lionel Messi but grew up watching Diego Maradona / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has made his choice in the debate over his country’s greatest ever footballer: Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi.

Messi finally matched Maradona’s international achievements in 2022 when he captained La Albiceleste to World Cup glory, just as El Diego had done back in 1986.

For many, it was seen as Messi’s crowning glory to cap off a glittering career already filled with countless club trophies, accolades and records.

Scaloni has coached Messi at international level, first as an assistant and later as a head coach, since 2017. But he was growing up in the 1980s at a time when Maradona was at the peak of his powers and first reached God-like status in Argentina.

“If I have to pick one, I'll pick Leo, with whom I have something special,” Scaloni told El Partizado de COPE when asked to try and separate the two.

“He is the best in history, although Maradona was also great. Training Messi is not difficult. At a technical level he cannot be corrected, but at times there is pressure or a way of attacking is explained to him. To press, steal balls and when there is blood, he is number one.”

With the World Cup now in his personal trophy cabinet, Messi has literally now won it all. His long wait for an international triumphs finally came to an end in 2021 when Argentina prevailed in the Copa America, while he went one better by securing the global title in Qatar last month.

Given his personal impact on Argentina’s journey to glory, Messi is widely expected to land the eighth Ballon d’Or of his career at the award’s 2022/23 ceremony.