Cannavaro: Maradona the GOAT, not Messi

Former Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro had his say on the Diego Maradona-Lionel Messi debate.

Argentine great Diego Maradona.   -  Getty Images

Diego Maradona is the greatest of all time, not Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to Fabio Cannavaro.

Maradona and Messi are both regarded as two of the greatest players and the Argentine duo's standing atop football's history is often debated. Messi is a record six-time Ballon d'Or winner but former Italy defender Cannavaro believes 1986 World Cup champion Maradona is the greatest.

"I respect Messi a lot. For the new generation he is one of the best, but Maradona is different because the football was different," Cannavaro – now head coach of Chinese Super League giant Guangzhou Evergrande after captaining Italy to World Cup glory in 2006 – told Sky Sports.

"They kicked him a lot, but he was always in control and he was tough.

'Another world'

"Messi is top, but Maradona is another world. I never compare him with other players. I never saw Pele, but I watched Maradona, for seven years I saw every game. He's not one of the best, he's the best."

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Maradona won silverware at Barcelona, helping the Spanish giant to Copa del Rey, Copa de la Liga and Supercopa de Espana glory. The 59-year-old then went on to become an icon with Napoli, where he won two Serie A titles, as well as UEFA Cup, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana.

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Messi has won 10 La Liga crowns and four Champions League titles among other honours at Barcelona, though he has not tasted senior success with Argentina.

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