Football icon Diego Maradona, who has said some controversial things about FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in the past, has made a rather huge claim about the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The 32-year-old Blaugrana forward was unable to get going in his team’s 1-1 draw away at Napoli in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night, picking up from the unfamiliar form he has shown for large parts of the campaign.
Ahead of the clash, Italian newspapers brought up the old Messi and Maradona comparison, as the Barca No. 10 was set to play in the stadium and city where his predecessor is idolised.
Maradona played a major role in Napoli’s only two Serie A title wins in 1987 and 1990, after joining the Neapolitan club directly from Barca in 1984.
Speaking after Barca’s rather tame efforts against the Italian side, Maradona suggested he believes Messi is not the player he once was.
"Messi arrived at San Paolo in decline," he said, according to AS.
"Messi has not lived the life I have. Leo could (have) played extraordinarily in Naples, but he would not be able to do what I did.
"Let's be clear about that."
Maradona did, however, admit that he wished Napoli had a player like the Barca captain.
"I wish the Neapolitans could have a Messi, even though San Paolo is Diegoed," he added.
Do you agree with Maradona that Messi is in decline? Let us know in the comments section below.