Home>News Center>Sports

Maradona proclaims Messi as his successor
Updated: 2006-02-25 14:52

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Diego Maradona is proclaiming Barcelona's Lionel Messi as his true successor.

"I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi," Argentina's 1986 World Cup-winning captain was quoted a saying on Friday.

"Messi is the best player in the world, along with Ronaldinho. I see him as very similar to me," Maradona told the BBC referring also to Barcelona's Brazilian playmaker.

Maradona was speaking after 18-year-old Messi's brilliant display for Barcelona against Chelsea in their Champions League match at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

The teenager was far from overawed in a game between two of the best club sides in the world and played a big part in Barcelona's 2-1 victory.

The Spanish sports media on Thursday hailed Messi's coming of age in the round of 16 match, the opening leg of the rivals' first knockout round tie.

"He's a leader and is offering lessons in beautiful football. He has something different to any other player in the world," Maradona said.


Argentine Football Association president Julio Grondona was also full of praise for Messi and said Messi reminded him of the young Maradona who burst on to the Argentine scene 30 years ago.

"Messi is brilliant, different, with a strong mentality. Let's hope he doesn't change," Grondona told an Argentine radio station on Thursday.

He said watching Messi reminded him of Maradona inspiring Argentina to victory in the 1979 World Youth Cup in Japan.

"He's playing at the level of Diego in 1979 and a bit more," Grondona said.

Maradona, already a teenage senior international, was overlooked by coach Cesar Luis Menotti for the Argentine team that won the 1978 World Cup.

Messi, on the other hand, is expected to follow his central role in Argentina's fifth World Youth Cup success in the Netherlands last year by featuring for his country at the World Cup in Germany starting in four months' time.

Figure Skating gala in Turin
Selected Reuters Winter Olympics Games pictures on Feb. 23
Women's figure skating
  Today's Top News     Top Sports News

EU advised to reconsider dumping claim



China-US trade mutually beneficial: Ministry



Beijing vows to ease curbs on trips to Taiwan



Document to encourage premarital tests



China frets at pensions for aging population



Nation completes new geographic database


  Without McGrady, Yao leads Rockets over Warriors
  Han makes history with aerials gold
  Leaders tumble, and Arakawa wins Gold
  Marseille blunt Bolton, Roma through in UEFA Cup
  Short track star Yang makes a graceful exit to future opportunities
  Pistons pip Pacers to maintain home dominance
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Lionel Messi: Football's new 'Golden Boy'
It is tough to break into Argentina team, says Messi
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.