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Zanetti: No need to compare Maradona and Messi

It might be a debate that has occupied the minds of many football fans for years, but former Argentina international Javier Zanetti believes there is little point debating who the better player between compatriots Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi is.

Maradona rarely scaled the heights of Messi at club level, despite winning two Serie A titles with Napoli, while Messi is yet to match Maradona's greatest achievement in leading Argentina to the 1986 World Cup.

Messi has five Ballon d'Or triumphs to his name and has helped Barcelona to seven La Liga titles and four Champions League wins, scoring 436 goals in 510 games in the process.

Zanetti, now vice president of Inter, played with Messi for Argentina and against the Barcelona forward in the Champions League and said the attacker did not need a World Cup winner's medal to prove his talent.

"I do not understand the comparisons between the two," Zanetti said.

"I think Diego was unique and Messi is doing unique things. What can you say about Messi? A guy who has won five Ballon d'Ors, four Champions Leagues and has scored 97 goals in a year. 

"There is no need to win a World Cup to certify that talent.

"Messi is an ambassador of Argentina, and I am also proud of him as an Argentine."