Lionel Messi is doing what Diego Maradona did 30 years ago, says Xavi Hernandez | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 01, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:12 PM, June 01, 2018

'Leo is doing what Diego did 30 years ago, only now it costs twice as much'

Barcelona's former midfield general Xavi Hernandez was interviewed by Argentine media outlet La Nacion and talked extensively about Argentina's main-man Lionel Messi and the country's chances at the Russia World Cup.

Messi has always been compared to countryman Diego Maradona due to the similarities in playstyle and also because the former's diminutive stature reminds people of the legendary former Argentina No. 10.

Messi has so far failed to land a major international trophy with Argentina and many Argentines believe that the 30-year-old must lift the trophy to equal Maradona.

Xavi, a keen footballing mind, who is currently going after his coaching badge while also playing for Qatari club Al Sadd, is of the opinion that what Messi is doing in this current footballing climate -- considering the changes in the game in terms of fitness, tactics and mentality -- places him above Maradona.

"Messi does not need it [the World Cup], he's the best in history. I have not seen anyone better than him. I understand the consideration for Maradona. He has been and is an idol for all," Xavi began.

“What he [Mardona] did with Argentina still surpasses what the current generation of players have achieved. That's why there are people who say that Messi did not do what Maradona did.

"I understand, but at a footballing level Messi does what Maradona did 30 years ago. But in 2018 it costs twice as much because from a tactical, physical, technical and mental viewpoint, all the players are better," Xavi continued. "And the same will happen in another 30 years as the players will be better. Because life evolves. For me there is no debate; Messi is the best in history that I have seen. And then Maradona."

Talking about Messi's evolution throughout the years, Xavi pointed out how Messi can play any position on the pitch and play like the best in the world in that position.

"Messi can play the roles of Xavi, [Ivan] Rakitic, [Sergio] Busquets, [Andres] Iniesta or [Luis] Suarez. He does everything right. If you put him at centreback then he would also be the best central defender in the world," Xavi exclaimed, before detailing every way in which Messi can hurt a team.

"If he wants to take the ball from you, he steals it from you. When he intends to dribble, he dribbles. If you want him to pass, he provides the best assists in the world. When Leo takes a free kick, he puts them in the top corner.

"He is a player who can't be compared with anybody. He is like Maradona in his time, like Pele in his time. At present he is already the best football player in history," Xavi concluded.

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