Chelsea wonderkid Callum Hudson-Odoi has revealed his admiration for Argentina legend Diego Maradona but says that he gives Lionel Messi the edge in the debate over who is the greater player.
Maradona has been in the news this week as Asif Kapadia’s much-anticipated movie about his life and career was released in cinemas around the UK.
Hudson-Odoi attended the London premiere of the film, which tells the dark and dramatic story of Maradona during seven glorious yet turbulent years at Napoli.
“I’m a big fan of Maradona. I’ve been watching him since I was very young,” the Chelsea winger told Goal at Picturehouse Central in Piccadilly Circus.
“He was a great player, left-footed. He liked to dribble with the ball and score goals. I’m a big fan.”
Asked what qualities he would like to take from the 1986 World Cup hero’s game and bring to his own, Hudson-Odoi replied: “The way that he always loved to create as many goals as possible.
“Also, the confidence that he showed in every game – he didn’t care [about others] when he tried to do something – if he made a mistake, he kept on going.
“I think I can get that same [level of] confidence and keep doing my stuff and keep being myself.”
The perpetual debate among football fans, especially in Argentina, is whether Maradona or Messi should go down in history as the best of all time.
Fans of Messi point to his record-breaking exploits at Barcelona over the last 15 years, whereas supporters of Maradona argue that – unlike Messi – their man single-handedly took his country to World Cup success, in addition to his remarkable club achievements at Napoli.
Hudson-Odoi sides with the Team Messi camp, although he stressed that he is influenced by the fact that – as an 18 year old – he has seen much more of the Barcelona icon.
“They are both great players, they both have done well in their time,” he said.
“Messi is obviously a magnificent player, one of the best in the world.
“I would say I am Team Messi because obviously he is more of my generation and I watch him more now. So, Team Messi.”Hudson-Odoi, who is recovering from surgery on an Achilles injury that forced him to miss the final weeks of Chelsea’s season, was walking without the use of crutches.
Last season, the wideman made 24 appearances in all competitions, scoring five goals before his campaign was cut short.
He also made his England debut against the Czech Republic in March, becoming the Three Lions’ youngest ever player in a competitive match.