Messi and I think quicker, says Maradona

2012-03-24 11:21

Rome – Diego Maradona believes there is one trait that sets himself and Lionel Messi apart from the rest when it comes to discussing the best players of all time: speed of thought.

For many years Maradona was one half of the great debate as to who was the best ever player: him or Brazilian Pele.

But with Messi’s recent record-breaking exploits, many consider him to be a legitimate contender for that theoretic title.

And while Maradona has never been shy in publicising his own claims over Pele’s, he is less willing to blow his own trumpet when compared to his Argentine compatriot.

“The (best player) lists make me laugh but there is one ability, most of all one, that no one has ever had like Leo and myself: speed of thought,” Maradona told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“When I coached him, the thing I saw in him that reminded me of myself was the lightning understanding of how the move would develop.

“It’s an innate quality worthy of a computer. Had we been able to communicate with someone who thought at the same speed we could have both given even more.”

Looking just at today’s players, Maradona says Messi is in a league of his own, but he has a surprise in his top three.

“My rankings would be Messi, (Cristiano) Ronaldo and then Ibra (Zlatan Ibrahimovic) and (Wayne) Rooney together and (Sergio) Kun Aguero is in the top 10 but he’s rising.”

Maradona also turned his attentions to his problems with the Italian taxman, repeating his oft stated claim that he does not owe the 38 million euros being claimed.

And Maradona insists he’s been treated unfairly. “I’m not a tax evader, I hate tax-evaders and so I’m twice as bitter about this situation,” he said.

“I have a decision from 1994 that says I don’t owe anything but I don’t understand why the cards changed on the table.

“The thing I want to know is why am I the only one persecuted.

“Ferlaino, who signed the contracts with me, lives calmly in Naples, my ex-agent Coppola, who prepared them, comes and goes to Italy without any problems.

“And yet every time I put my feet down (in Italy) I’m subjected to the humiliation of being stripped of watches and earrings.”

Customs officers have been ordered to seize anything of value from Maradona when he comes to Italy to help pay off his debt.

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