Lionel Messi has ‘ousted’ Diego Maradona as the greatest of all time after playing at the pinnacle for 15 years, claims ex-Italy and Real Madrid star Antonio Cassano
- Cassano believes that Messi has overtaken Maradona as the greatest of all time
- Argentine star has won every honour in the domestic game with Barcelona
- But he has been unable to replicate Maradona in lifting the World Cup so far
- However, ex-Italy star Cassano believes Messi’s consistency gives him the edge
Lionel Messi has ‘ousted’ Diego Maradona as the greatest-ever player because of his incredible consistency over 15 years, according to Italy striker Antonio Cassano.
Barcelona star Messi has played at the pinnacle of world football for so long but hasn’t matched the success on the international stage with Argentina enjoyed by Maradona.
However, ex-Real Madrid and Roma star Cassano argues Messi deserves to be recognised as the best.
Lionel Messi is the greatest player of all time, ‘ousting’ Diego Maradona, according to Cassano
Maradona inspired Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, something Messi hasn’t yet been able to replicate for his national side
‘Maradona did something never seen before for four or five years, but Messi has done the same things for 15 years,’ Cassano told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.
‘He has scored 710 goals and 300 assists. When he plays you start with a 1-0 lead.
‘The ‘Maradonians’ have to accept it: there is someone who has ousted him.’
Cassano, now 37 and retired, came up against a young Messi when he played for Real Madrid between 2006 and 2008.
He has continued to admire the Argentine wizard, who has delivered 10 league titles, six Spanish Cups and four Champions League crowns to Barcelona, his one and only club.
Former Italy striker Antonio Cassano believes Messi has overtaken Maradona as the greatest
But Messi has yet to lead Argentina to glory in any major competition, whereas Maradona inspired his national team to World Cup glory in 1986.
At the age of 32, time is running out for Messi to replicate this success with the closest he has come being Argentina’s 1-0 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.
Cassano now puts Messi ahead of his former Real team-mate Ronaldo, the Brazil striker, as the game’s greatest.
Cassano believes that his former Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo is one of the best ever
‘We were losing 1-0 at home,’ Cassano said. ‘The whole stadium was whistling, especially at him [Ronaldo].
‘In the locker room the coach removes Ronnie to put [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy on, but he [Ronaldo] stops him and says ‘no, you take me off in 15 minutes if I haven’t scored two goals.’
‘Minute 15: 2-1 and two goals from Ronaldo. I said that if there is a football God, it is Ronaldo. Then I discovered that Messi is above him.’