Messi: Maradona was my inspiration

Argentina have arguably produced two of the best ever footballers in Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi said if anyone inspired him to become a footballer, it was Argentina great Diego Maradona. 

Since making his debut for Barca in 2004, Messi has constantly drawn comparisons to countryman Maradona. 

And four-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi admitted if there is anyone who inspired him as a youngster, it was the 1986 World Cup winner. 

"I never followed anyone in particular, until I started having a reason to, Maradona returned home and became a big deal again," the 28-year-old told Gente. 

"It was in 1993. From Spain he arrived at Newell's [Old Boys] and helped the national team qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the United States. 

"If anyone inspired me, without doubt it was him."

Messi - the Argentina captain - has established himself as one of the best players in the history of football but said his world does not revolve around football. 

"I dream like anyone else," he said. "I don't live depending on football. 

"I play when I have to professionally or when I want to entertain myself with friends. 

"But I assure you that my whole life is not just football.

"Just like there are great professionals who save lives and create things so we can live better, I had the opportunity to play football so that others can be entertained.

"I am very grateful that it turned out this way."