Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni has picked Lionel Messi ahead of Diego Maradona, hailing the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) superstar as the greatest player in football history.
Messi led from the front as Argentina won the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in December. La Albiceleste took on defending champions France in an enthralling final at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, beating them 4-2 on penalties (3-3 after extra time).
The PSG ace scored a brace and calmly put away his penalty to bring the World Cup back to his country after a 36-year hiatus. Messi ended the tournament with a staggering seven goals and three assists in seven games, winning the Golden Ball.
Argentina’s previous World Cup triumph came in 1986, courtesy of a stellar shift from the great Maradona. For years, the Messi Maradona debate had a clear winner in Argentina, but now, following the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner’s heroics, the scenery has seemingly shifted.
During his interview on Cope’s “El Partidazo” program, Scaloni was asked to pick between Messi and Maradona. The Argentina coach replied:
“For me, Messi is the best in history. Maradona was great. but with Leo, I have something special.”
Messi has featured in 44 games under Scaloni, scoring a staggering 32 times.
PSG boss Christophe Galtier reveals why Lionel Messi and Neymar were ineffective in Rennes defeat
Ligue 1 giants PSG succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Rennes on Sunday, January 15. Hamari Traore scored the winner for Rennes in the 65th minute.
Both Messi and Neymar were part of the starting XI but neither managed to keep regular pressure on the host. With the exception of an inch-perfect lobbed through ball to Kylian Mbappe in the 70th minute, Messi was rendered ineffective by Rennes.
Speaking after the game, PSG boss Christophe Galtier said that the two superstars were stifled due to Rennes’ perfectly executed low block.
“There is always a plan on my two players, be it Neymar or Messi. But you have to be able to adapt to find other options. Do we have to completely change the plan? Whether it's Leo or Ney picking up, it needs a lot more fixing points up top. There, we had none,” Galtier said.
“Ney and Leo dropped out together in crowded areas. As much as there was possession, there were few offensive situations. How to get around the low blocks? It will take a fair balance, but it will be necessary to find percussion. In our possession of the ball, when we gave, we did not impose. We gave; we stayed in support.”
PSG, who have now lost two of their last three Ligue 1 games, return to action with a friendly against Riyadh XI on January 19. Lionel Messi’s arch-nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to make his Saudi Arabian debut in that game.