'Diego is eternal' - Messi says of Maradona

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Lionel Messi (Getty Images)
Lionel Messi (Getty Images)

Lionel Messi paid tribute to Diego Maradona on Wednesday by calling him "eternal" after his fellow Argentine died of a heart attack.

"A very sad day for all Argentines and football," Messi wrote on Instagram. "He has left us but he will never leave us because Diego is eternal. I will keep all the beautiful moments that I lived with him and would like to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP."

Messi and Maradona have often been compared in the debate about who was the greatest footballer of all time.

Both players are icons in Argentina and have been likened to each other due to their global status, dribbling style and famous number 10 shirts.

Maradona was also Messi's coach during his brief time in charge of the national team, which included Argentina being thrashed by Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals.

Maradona spent two years at Barcelona, where Messi is now captain and the club's all-time top scorer, although Maradona's greatest years were spent with Napoli in Italy.

Asked about Maradona in 2010, Messi said: "Even if I played for a million years, I'd never come close to Maradona. Not that I'd want to anyway. He's the greatest there's ever been."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
41% - 12226 votes
Cricket
12% - 3651 votes
Football
19% - 5562 votes
Athletics
3% - 773 votes
Boxing
1% - 296 votes
Cycling
2% - 695 votes
Golf
5% - 1530 votes
Motorsport
8% - 2498 votes
Tennis
3% - 1044 votes
Water sports
1% - 271 votes
American sports
1% - 379 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 999 votes
Vote