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Messi vs Maradona: Who has scored more goals in the World Cup?

Which of the Argentinian legends has the most goals at the World Cup?

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Semi Final - Argentina v Croatia - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - December 13, 2022 Argentina fans wear Lionel Messi and former player Diego Maradona shirts inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Molly Darlington

Let’s be clear right from line one: I’m not going to try and compare the two in terms of who’s better, which would be like asking me to choose between which lung I’d like to have removed. Instead, I’ll present the facts and stats and let you, the lovely reader, decide on whatever you like.

Messi is about to step out onto the pitch at the Qatar World Cup 2022 final on Sunday 18 December. It will be the second time he has done so, the last one being the game in 2014 against Germany, in which Mario Götze scored a late winner to break South American hearts. But don’t cry, Argentina, as there is another chance for Messi to get his hands on the trophy that has evaded him all his career until now, they just have to get past Kylian Mbappé and his ferocious France squad.

Maradona, who passed away in 2020, reached two World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990, winning the first of them, against West Germany. Many think of Maradona in that tournament as the greatest sporting performance ever achieved, and the solo goal against England is considered one of the greatest showings of talent in the history of sport.

Maradona managed Argentina at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
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Maradona managed Argentina at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.DYLAN MARTINEZDiarioAS

Who has scored more goals at the World Cup: Messi or Maradona?

Maradona and Messi’s statistics at World Cup matches are scarily similar. According to Sofascore, they have the same number of assists (5) and the same number of successful dribbles per game (5.0). Maradona beats Messi in key passes per game (3.19 to 2.88) but Messi wins in terms of shots per match (3.96 to 2.81).

When it comes to goalscoring, Messi matched Maradona with his effort against Mexico in a game that also saw the PSG forward overtake him in appearances. Messi now has 11 goals to Maradona’s 8, but the Pibe de Oro does have that 1986 World Cup trophy to his name; maybe Messi can finally match him in that regard against France on 18 December.

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