The former Argentina international says he does not understand the constant comparisons between the two icons, insisting they are both unique
The debate over who is the better player between Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona has raged on for years, but former Argentina international Javier Zanetti insists there is no need to compare the two.
Maradona remains a world icon, having guided Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 and reaching the final in 1990, as well as winning two Serie A titles with Napoli.
While Messi is yet to be crowned a world champion with his country, he has taken the Albiceleste to the 2014 World Cup final and has won an unprecedented five Ballons d'Or as well as four Champions Leagues and seven Spanish league titles with Barcelona.
Zanetti, now vice president of Inter, played with Messi for Argentina and against the Barcelona forward in the Champions League and said the attacker does not need a World Cup winner's medal to prove his talent.
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"I do not understand the comparisons between the two," Zanetti said.
"I think Diego was unique and Messi is doing unique things. What can you say about Messi? A guy who has won five Ballon d'Ors, four Champions Leagues and has scored 97 goals in a year.
"There is no need to win a World Cup to certify that talent.
"Messi is an ambassador of Argentina, and I am also proud of him as an Argentine."