By Izuchukwu Okosi

The outpouring of emotions and tributes to iconic football legend Diego Armando Maradona who died on Wednesday of heart attack are well deserving and more.

Many football fans both those who watched him play and the present generation were apparently in shock over the demise of the Argentine who almost singlehandedly won the 1986 FIFA World Cup for his country.

Maradona played with teammates who were not so gifted as he was but he made them ‘accomplices’ for the results he desired and fulfilled in most matches.

One interesting thing about the onetime Barcelona, Sevilla and Napoli superstar had been and still is the comparison between him and fellow Argentina star Lionel Messi. Who is better is the bone of contention.

The Maradona versus Messi comparisison is subjective but it is curious to know what is Messi’s opinion about this? Beyond the tributes.

For me, Maradona played football when football was not ‘tech’ like today. The stadiums were not great like we have them presently, the motivation in terms of money were not like these days and protection from referees in the hands of defenders were at a premium (remember 86 and 90 World Cup hatchet men sorry defenders?)

Maradona played in harder times yet produced so much. Messi (perhaps Cristiano Ronaldo) is the BEST of his generation but MARADONA is arguably the Greatest of All Times and only challenged by Edison Dos Nascimento – Pele).

Maradona does rightly believe that the tackles he suffered and the outspoken line he towed laid the foundation for the way referees now seek to protect star strikers and midfielders. Something Messi enjoys now.

This writer has no issues with Messi’s stardom. It is usually said that some big players’ laces cannot even be tied by emerging stars. However Messi is GOOD ENOUGH to tie Maradona’s laces BUT in my opinion which should be popular not better than the now departed.

The ‘downside’ in Maradona’s life and career is being seen as a ‘god’ who was even worshiped by his supporters. Then the drugs.

Diego you are no longer with us. I did not see you in person but your memory lives on.