Last weekend, a video capturing the moment where Diego Maradona said that Lionel Messi — the world’s greatest footballer — had “no personality” and lacked the qualities needed to be a leader went viral. So much drama. Maradona said this while talking to Brazilian football legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento (you probably know him as Pelé) and has since stated that they were not meant as an insult. But he hasn’t apologized, either.
“I was talking to Pelé about how [football] is losing leaders. We can’t force Messi to be a leader. If he scores four goals [that doesn’t make] him a leader. I could never [talk badly about] him because I get along well with him and his father. He’s a sensational kid,” said Maradona in an interview with Radio La Red this morning.
So Pelé asked Maradona whether or not he knew Messi personally and if he was a good person.
“He’s a really good person, but he has no personality. He lacks [the] character to be a leader,” said Maradona.
Any resemblance to comments by America’s Next Top Model judges is completely coincidental.
“Ohh, I get it, he’s not like we were back in the day. In the ’70s, [Brazil] had really good players. Not like Argentina now, which depends only on Messi,” replied Pelé.
Of course, back in the day, when everything and everyone was better. All that’s missing is Messi confronting them saying, “Why are you so obsessed with me?”
Maradona has already been called to the principal’s office, or just by the media, to justify his comments. He says that he stands by them, adding that he believes Messi’s performance would improve if he didn’t have to deal with being team captain.
“He’s phenomenal as a player and as a kid [Note: Messi is 28]. Today, leaders can be counted on one hand. Let us allow Messi to play as he wants and for him to keep scoring the goals that he does,” continued Maradona.
In classic Messi style, Messi hasn’t commented.
Argentina made it to the quarter finals of the Copa América after beating Panama 5-0 on Friday. Three of those goals were made by Messi in the second half in what’s known as a hat-trick in under 20 minutes, reaffirming his prowess and reputation for being the best player in the world. Messi faces pressure to lead Argentina to victory at the Copa América this year, as it has not won a major title since 1993 and he has yet to win a major title with the national squad. Argentina will play Bolivia today at 11 PM.