The debate about who’s better between Lionel Messi and Diego Armando Maradona is an even one now that the 35-year-old lifted the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
For most of Messi’s career, not having that World Cup in his trophy cabinet kept him below Maradona for some football fans. However, even after winning the tournament last year in Qatar, former Barcelona midfielder Bernd Schuster believes Maradona remains the better player.
“We have seen a more veteran Messi. He is no longer the young boy who made everyone fall in love with his football and it was the only thing that mattered to him. With his seniority, with his age, he has grown a lot,” Schuster told Super Depor Radio (h/t AS). “There is only one small difference that I see between Diego and Leo and that is that Diego was more outward.
He told everyone what he felt. Messi is not so capable of saying, ‘I’m dying for my country; I’m dying for my people’. He thinks about it inside; it’s what comes to me. Diego transmitted a lot of what he felt to his teammates, to his fans; that’s why everyone loved him so much. Messi keeps it to himself, but his attitude on the field is similar
While Schuster considers Maradona the better player of the two, he’s glad that Messi didn’t plan to hang up his national team boots after winning the World Cup. He also stated that the Paris Saint-Germain star still has plenty of years left in his career.
“I don’t know Messi so personally to know how he thinks,” Schuster continued. “I have met many great players who say that after reaching the top, they retire from football. They keep that last final, that last trophy, that success and then they retire at least from the national team.
“Messi can still play for a few years. For that, he keeps the desire. He has football in his head. It’s in a comfortable place, as is Paris; it’s a comfortable club for him. He no longer has that requirement like the greats of Europe. Of course, they will want to win the Champions League, at least once, after so many years trying. There he can play a couple more years.”
Messi might have a few more years playing football, but he will need to decide on his future this year. The Argentine’s contract expires in June, and he can take a one-year deal to possibly remain in the French capital.
However, he could take a longer-term contract that would see Messi finish off his career either in MLS with Inter Miami, most likely, or head to Saudi Arabia, where there are plenty of interested clubs hoping to sign him. Messi has control of his future; it will be up to him what he decides.