Diego Maradona is light years behind Lionel Messi, says Sergio Ramos

first_imgSpain captain Sergio Ramos has responded to a putdown from Argentina great Diego Maradona by making an unlikely declaration of admiration for Lionel Messi, his usual enemy as the talisman of Real Madrid’s arch-rivals Barcelona.Maradona, his country’s 1986 World Cup-winning captain, remarked this week that “Ramos is no superstar, the real superstar defender is Diego Godin” when comparing Spain’s serial-winner Ramos with the Uruguay captain.Ramos was asked what he made of Maradona’s comments after Spain’s 1-0 World Cup Group B win over Iran, and chose to praise on Messi, who has led Barcelona to numerous wins over Real Madrid and had plenty of full-blooded clashes with the Spaniard.”I respect Maradona because he is an all-time great, I think he was a star, but I’ll also tell you that Argentine football knows Maradona is light years behind their number one player, which is Messi,” Ramos said.Stung by his failure to score a penalty and avert a disappointing draw against Iceland, the Argentine captain would love to make amends in their World Cup Group D match against Croatia on Thursday.Having led Argentina to an agonising final defeat by Germany four years ago, Messi turns 31 in a few days and may be playing his last World Cup. He would need to win it to rival fellow great Diego Maradona for the eternal love of his compatriots.The diminutive Argentine captain known as “La Pulga” (The Flea) has won every club accolade imaginable with Barcelona, but has agonizingly missed out on international trophies both at the World Cup and Copa America.advertisementFor many Argentines, that means while he may be the world’s best player currently, Messi has not entered the same pantheon as Maradona “El Pibe” (The Kid) who won the 1986 World Cup.Nevertheless, it is 32 years since Argentina last won the World Cup and 25 since their last silverware, the Copa America in 1993.Croatia themselves are not short on top-quality players. As well as Rakitic, they also have the talented Luka Modric in midfield, and towering hitman Mario Madzukic up front.With their strongest squad for years and in pole position in the group, Croatia dream of rivalling the glories of 1998, when they reached the World Cup semi-finals and finished third after a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in the playoff.(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more