Maradona: Messi is my successor
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Maradona believes that Barca's Lionel Messi can inherit his exalted status in world football.
Joint Fifa Player of the Century Diego Maradona believes that Barcelona superkid Lionel Messi has all the attributes to inherit his position as the darling of Argentinian football.
Scores of promising Argentinian stars have been labelled with the tag of 'the new Maradona', including such names as Andres D'Alessandro and Pablo Aimar, but all have failed to live up to the monumental legacy of the World Cup winner.
However, after yet another outstanding display against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League, in which he ran Asier Del Horno ragged until the Spaniard was sent off, Messi has now caused Maradona himself to exclaim the Barca star is his natural successor in the national team.
The 18-year-old is expected to be one of the breakthrough stars of the World Cup with his bewitching dribbling skills, and Maradona believes Messi is a unique talent in world football.
"I've seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentinian football and his name is Messi," said Maradona.
"He is beautiful to watch - my kind of player in our blue and white jersey.
"He's a leader and is offering classes in beautiful football.
"He has something different to any other player in the world."
Messi's international debut was a disaster as he was sent off after just three minutes in a friendly against Hungary, but he is expected to play a prominent role for Jose Pekerman in the World Cup finals in Germany.