The former Tottenham player has confessed that he never thought anyone could surpass the man who lit up the 1986 Mexico World Cup, but the Barcelona striker is the best everOssie Ardiles has admitted that he now believes that Lionel Messi is a better player than his former Argentina team-mate Diego Maradona.
The 24-year-old Messi is breaking record after record with Barcelona, but there are those who believe there is too great a discrepancy between his performances for club and country for him to be yet considered on the same level as World Cup winner Maradona.
However, Ardiles disagrees, insisting that success with the national team is an inevitability for a player he believes already ranks as the greatest of all time.
"I played with Maradona for seven seasons and he was superb," the former midfielder is quoted as saying by Sport.
"I even thought that there would never be another player like him, but I have to admit that Messi is better.
"Messi has not achieved results with the national team, but they will come, for sure.
"There is a national evolution and the current players are getting better ... [But] Messi is by far the best."
Ardiles, who is currently coaching in Japan with Machida Zelvia, made 63 appearances for Argentina and was an integral member of the side which won the 1978 World Cup on home soil.