'Maradona is divine' – Insigne won't compare Messi to former Napoli star

Diego Maradona Lionel Messi Argentina Split
The Italian forward was unwilling to compare and contrast the two Argentinian legends

Lorenzo Insigne had no interest in comparing Lionel Messi to Diego Maradona ahead of Napoli's clash with Barcelona, saying the latter was "divine for Neapolitans".

Messi and Barcelona make the trip to the Stadio San Paolo, where Maradona starred as a player in the 1980s and '90s, for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Like Maradona, Messi is considered among the best players of all-time, with both considered by many to be the greatest to ever play the game.

However, Insigne preferred not to compare the Argentine duo, as the current Napoli forward stated that he admires both of the South American stars.

"I had an interview and I said Messi is the best player in the world," he told a news conference ahead of Barcelona's clash with Napoli.

"However, I do not want to compare him with Maradona, who is everything for us. I do not want to compare him.

"Maradona is divine for Neapolitans, with all respect for Messi who is the best right now."

Despite some off-field issues, Barca are top of La Liga and will go into the last-16 tie as favourites.

The Catalans lead Real Madrid atop the league, despite recent injuries to stars like Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Napoli, meanwhile, have had an up-and-down year, with the club sitting sixth in Serie A under Gennaro Gattuso, who replaces Carlo Ancelotti as the club's manager this season.

But Insigne said Napoli simply need to focus on themselves heading into the first leg as the Italian side look to pull off an upset against a perennial contender.

"I do not know what kind of problem Barcelona have got. I read some things as other people did," he said.

"I think after four goals scored by Messi against Eibar ... they have no problems.

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"We do not have to think about them. We have to think about ourselves. They have to play a great game from the beginning until the end. That's it."

After facing Barcelona, Napoli will take on Torino in Serie A ahead of a Coppa Italia semi-final clash with Inter.

Barcelona, meanwhile, will move right on to El Clasico on Sunday as Messi and co. visit Real Madrid