Ardiles: Messi will be the greatest

Lionel Messi will go down as the greatest player in footballing history – better even than Diego Maradona and Pele, according to Ossie Ardiles.

The former Argentina midfielder claims Messi is similar to their fellow countryman Maradona – except better.

Former Tottenham star Ardiles, who helped nurture Maradona for the national side, said: "I think there is only one player you can compare with Messi, and that is Maradona, and in many ways they are very similar.

"But for some time I have thought that Diego could never be surpassed, and nor could Pele, but no longer. I would now say that Lionel Messi will go down in history as the number one player of all time, the best that there ever was.

"The big difference is that Maradona played in Argentina, then in Italy, while Pele stayed in Brazil, and during their time the pressures were less intense than they are now.

"Messi is under pressure all the time, and has to play in incredibly high intensity games all of the time, the Champions League being the perfect example.”

Ardiles was speaking after being appointed manager of the Argentine Legends for the Football 40 brand, which kicks off its first public tournament at Fulham’s Craven Cottage on May 29 with 40-minute matches between Tottenham v Arsenal and Chelsea v Fulham, and the winners playing a final.