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Ortega: Messi is the world's No. 1


GOALEXCLUSIVE

Former Argentina star Ariel Ortega has heaped praise on Lionel Messi, assuring there is no doubt the Barcelona star is the best in the world.

Messi has come under scrutiny during the Copa America after Diego Maradona he "lacked personality" to be the leader of the national team. 

But the No. 10 responded with a terrific hat-trick off the bench to sink Panama, and Ortega is convinced nobody else can match his talent currently. 

"It is beyond discussion for me. He is the world's No. 1," El Burrito told Goal during the launch of the new Nike Mercurial Superfly V line in Argentina. 

Ortega knows better than anyone what it is like to live in the shadow of Maradona. 



The now-retired playmaker replaced Diego following the doping scandal in the 1994 World Cup and never quite lived up to the legacy the legend left in the Albiceleste - but he sees Messi as on a similar level as El Pibe de Oro.

"He is the footballer I most enjoy watching," he added. 

"He is the man who has taken Argentina to where they are today, among the best in the world."

Messi, however, was not the only man in the Albiceleste ranks who merited praise from the mercurial talent. 

"They are all playing well and building up hopes. I hope as a fan that Argentina can win [the Copa]," he signalled.