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Wednesday 7 December 2016

'Maradona shades Messi': Pochettino

Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona

Lionel Messi is still to convince Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino that he is better than Diego Maradona.

The Barcelona forward put on another scintillating performance in Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League semi-final first-leg defeat of Bayern Munich, managed by his former mentor Pep Guardiola.

But Pochettino, who, like Messi and Maradona (right) is Argentinian, believes the 1986 World Cup winner remains the greatest.

"For me, it is always Maradona. I am sorry Messi. I love Messi, but for me, it is always Maradona," Pochettino said.

"I was lucky that I played with Diego Maradona. Maybe Maradona is one step up, because he is my idol.

"Messi is this type of player, for me the best in the world today, better than Cristiano Ronaldo and he can decide a game.

"Maradona, for my generation, is always a very special player. When I was a child Maradona was like a god. It is difficult in your mind to change your view and say Messi is better or Ronaldo is better, but right now Messi is the best in the world."

On who he would pick in his team, Pochettino said: "Now? Messi, because Maradona is fat."

Looking at Wednesday night's performance, the 43-year-old said: "When Messi wanted to, he decided the game."

Everton boss Roberto Martinez was intrigued by Messi going up against a side led by Guardiola.

"You are running out of words to describe him," Martinez said.

"I thought it was probably the most interesting game that we have seen this year.

"It was two very similar ways of playing the game, two similar philosophies, one team probably with the most significant player in world football in Lionel Messi and the other missing three important players.

"The performance of Messi has given him the edge of being the best player in world football at the moment."

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