Arrigo Sacchi has stated that Leo Messi, far from being the best player of all time, isn’t even the greatest to emerge from his native Argentina. “Maradona and Di Stéfano were the two greatest players. Different, but the greatest. Maradona had more talent. Alfredo was just everywhere [on the pitch] at once,” the former Italy coach said in an interview with La Nación.
Messi lacks Maradona's personality
Sacchi was happy to name Messi the best active player on the planet. “Messi is the best in the world today but he lacks the personality of Diego. Maradona could play anywhere. It Italy [during Maradona’s era] they did not play beautiful football. It may be a bit better now but Italian football is very difficult, possession is hard to maintain. Yet, Maradona had the edge in Italy and in Spain. Nobody could stop Maradona.”
Sacchi, who led Italy to the 1994 World Cup final, also gave his opinion on why Messi has won everything there is to win with Barcelona but has not had the same success with Argentina. “A team has the kind of potency that even Messi alone doesn’t have. Messi has won a lot more and with considerably more ease at Barcelona than with with Argentina. What’s missing? A clearly defined playing style. If even Messi needs support, can you imagine what it’s like for other players? The style of play guides you and helps you to be a better player. In football one player should never be responsible for helping all the others. You have to have 11 motivated players with a very strong team spirit, and a coach who offers a defined, collective style. If on top of that you have talented players, so much the better. But if you don’t have that wealth of talent, look at Germany, who manage to win [titles] or get close whatever they have at their disposal. Because they have a plan. Argentina are always among the favourites but maybe they need more cohesion, more team spirit.”
The former Milan manager also said he is sure that Messi will do a u-turn on his decision to quit international football. “Leo doesn’t have the enthusiasm for it at the moment but I think he will change his mind because he has a debt with football, with the fans, with Argentina… because of that he has to return. We can’t afford to lose the best player in the world.”
“Cristiano is the epitome of a great professional. He doesn’t have the same talent as Messi but he is an amazing player. Once I went to visit Carlo Ancelotti at Madrid and even before practice had begun Cristiano was there, working out in the dressing room, before the others had arrived. He has a lot of will and a huge appetite.”
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