If Messi did half the amount of gear Maradonna did he wouldn’t be half the player he was so Maradonna wins.
Well, you could put that hyothesis to the test by watching what Maradona did before Napoli and comparing it to what Messi did till he was 24. Not sure that would yield the result you expect.
Messi at his best was better than Maradona at his best. Messi at his avg day was much better than Maradona at his average day. The differences are mainly 3
- Maradona had his best at a World cup, Messi didnt.
- Maradona was a natural leader, Messi wasnt and isnt. This is my opinion: Maradona inspired his team mates more, much more. He had this aura, and it was a powerful one.
- Maradona was as controversial as human beings come and the gap between where he came from and what he achieved was among the biggest. He spoke out loud and backed up those statements forcefully with actions in a couple of key momenys of his life and carreer. He was contradictory, and his story is one of endless talent, struggle, passion, hate and an ocassional redemption along the way. He never, EVER shied away from a challenge. Even on his worst day, he asked for the ball time and time again. And he tried, and failed. And tried again, and failed again (that day). From a stoy telling pov that is as good of a input as you can get. I am talking Greey mythology material. That is why probably why so many artists have taken a crack at depictimg/honouring him. Music, theatre, tv series, movies, painting, the lot.
Messi's greatest controversy was his accountant making a mistake and him being fined by the spanish tax authorities. And him paying dilligently, course. Sure, haters will target practice with that but hardly what we cold pultizer material. Maradona walked into a room, any room, and time stopped. No matter what the subject of the conversation was.
If my life depended on the restul of a game and i could pick one player for my team it would be Messi. 10 times out of 10. One other thing i've hear a LOT was that Maradona was more aesthetic and pleasurable to watch. I understand where they are coming from but i disagree. The ball control at speed Messi had is something we wont see for many, many years and it is/was a thing of beauty. Messi is more, how should i call it, efficient. He rarely, if ever, makes a feint just for the sake of it. His movements tend to have a very, very specific purpose. Maradona nutmegged players because he could and because he like it. For Messi nutmegging is a recourse, just like any other, to get past a defender and score. If he had a more efficient recourse to achieve the same, he prolly wouldnt use a nutmeg. Maradona would still attempt to nutmeg his defender. Difference might be sutil, but it is there.
Another thing people repeat ad nauseam is how their eras differ in terms of defending and defenders. They generally attach a video of defenders beating the crap out of Maradona when saying that. Fouling was vicious back then, true. Brutal. But there is a catch many overlook. Attacking players had more space. Tactically. Coaches have learned how to stop most by positioning their teams in certain ways.
One last thing that i thought i should mention. People, a LOT of people, a LOT of people who know or should know better repeat things like: 'Maradona was carrying a pack of nobodies in Napoli, facing and besting the best teams in europe'.
Ciro Ferrara, De Napoli, Andrea Carnevale, Careca, Alemano... those are some pretty big names. Sure, they werent Milan, but they were pretty close.