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The former Real Madrid director has taken the time to praise the record-breaking Blaugrana attacker, although believes the current Al Wasl coach had a better style of play

Former Argentina international Jorge Valdano has voiced his opinion that 1986 World Cup winner Diego Maradona was more artistic than Barcelona star Lionel Messi, but feels that the latter is more efficient.

Messi became Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer on Tuesday when he netted a hat-trick in the Catalans' 5-3 Liga win over Granada, and Valdano has nothing but praise for the 24-year-old as he feels the attacker has what it takes to exceed Pele and Maradona as the best ever.

"We judge Maradona based on his entire career, while Messi is still only 24. The fact that we're already comparing them is a tribute to what Lionel has achieved," Valdano was quoted as saying by Sport.

"If we have to differ between them, you can say that Maradona was more artistic and had a unique, beautiful style of play. Messi on the other hand is more efficient and more consistent. He's dangerous every time he gets the ball.

"If he continues to perform at this level, he will exceed everyone, including Pele."

Messi will be looking to add to his tally of 234 official goals for Barcelona on Saturday in the away game against Mallorca.

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