The 50-year-old was speaking as a guest on the television programme Animals Loose in Argentina and went into detail to stress the comparisons between the pair.
"Maradona had speed like no other player. Messi is the closest I've seen to Maradona but I would not like to say who is the best ever," said the former River Plate player.
“I’ve seen [Alfredo] Di Stefano. Messi is different because he has that speed, this is a phenomenon that Diego also had, being the world’s best for nearly 20 years and winning championship after championship."
Francescoli was also quick to attribute much of Messi’s success to his focus and determination, in addition to his god given physical prowess.
"I was lucky to meet him when I interviewed him," he continued.
"It stayed with me when he said that he was lucky to have an Argentine background to help him when leaving to go to Europe at the age of 12.
"He's a mixture of Argentine stock and European mentality, he does things that he's picked up there, and he knows what he does.”