Lionel Messi is being touted as the greatest of all time after the Copa America win but there are a few who still do not believe he has achieved that feat. Mario Kempes, the 1978 World Cup winner with Argentina, is among those who have claimed the Barcelona star is nowhere near Diego Maradona.
Lionel Messi fulfilled his dream of winning a trophy with the national team when Argentina defeated Brazil in the Copa America final on Saturday. The Barcelona star had come close several times before but failed to cross the line at the final hurdle.
Mario Kempes was talking to ESPN Mexico when he shut down talks of Lionel Messi being the greatest footballer of all time. He claimed the Barcelona star is not the best Argentine player of all time, as that title still belongs to Diego Maradona. He said:
"For Messi, the misfortune is that he was the replacement for Diego Maradona. 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."
Lionel Messi dedicates Copa America win to Diego Maradona and his family
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has praised his teammates and dedicated the Copa America win to Diego Maradona, his family, and all those who believed in the Argentina players.
"I want to dedicate this success to my family, who always gave me the strength to move forward, to my friends that I love so much, to all the people who believe in us, and most of all to the 45 million Argentines who have endured such a tough time with this virus... especially those that have been personally affected.
"This is for all, and of course also for Diego, who surely was supporting us from wherever he is. In order to continue celebrating we have to continue taking care of ourselves."
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