Roberto Ayala: “Maradona was pure art, Messi is Speedy Gonzalez”


Roberto Ayala spoke with Fox Sports and gave his opinion on both Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Ayala played with both legendary players in the Argentina national team. Here’s what he had to say:

“They are different. Diego for me was art in its purest form in his movements. He (Messi) is a Speedy Gonzalez who never loses the ball. He has the ball at 2 cm from his foot. How do you do that?

“I played with both. With Diego, I was just starting off. They are two beasts. When he (Messi) retires, he will also be remembered. I don’t know if it’ll be like Diego, it doesn’t matter. But yeah, I do enjoy that I had them in the same shirt.

The former Valencia man is also on the current Argentina national team staff with Lionel Scaloni. Ayala commented on Messi’s importance to the current squad:

“For this generation, he (Messi) is very important. He doesn’t have to take care but to transmit what he lived through his Argentina national team career. Today, there’s no Masche who was helping him and they were a very good duo. There is Otamendi but the character is different. There’s a good group, there are good footballers, now you have to build a team.”


  1. Argentina is blessed to have these 2 players.For Argentines emotionally Maradona will always be best no one can take his place.
    Football wise Messi is maradona every week but Maradona was also not Maradona every week.In 1986 WC maradona was in god level mode. But Argentia has produced these 2 greatest footballer of all time or may be 3 Di stefeano , the most complete player game has ever seen.

    • “For Argentines emotionally Maradona will always be best no one can take his place”.

      with this sentence you write everything.
      there isn t anything else somebody can add.

  2. Between Maradona and Messi,Messi is ahead of Maradona.Messi has vision and better understing of game which are rare qualities.Maradona has more acceleration and fast dribbling but Messi’s chage of direction twist and turn are amazing and Messi is free kick master.
    Ball controll-Messi
    Killer passes-Messi
    Deadball specialist-Messi
    Final touch-Maradona
    First touch- Messi
    Dribbling- Same level or Maradona
    Long ball-Messi
    Through ball-Messi

    • leadership inside and outside pitch -MARADONA
      inspiration to teamates and everybody around team – MARADONA

      as about some of your choices up i disagree with you but anyway it is your opinion and it is welcome. we can t agree in everything.
      it is normal.

      • Where was Maradona’s leadership inside and outside if the pitch when he was coach of Argentina.That was the time to show real leadership as coach but Germany beat us by 4 goals in world cup and i think Argentina barely qualified world cup qualifier that year

        • Maradona is not coach. i said leadership and inspiration.
          those things is different.
          one coach , player or president or manager or general in one army or one simple emploee in one company can have or not have those very important abilitys.

          Maradona was grand leader and inspire.
          but bad coach.

          in 2010 we arrive with auto pilot to world cup with only weapons our leader and the talent of our players.
          without team. without chemistry or organization.
          with auto pilot.

          and something last because i feel i have to protect Diego.
          we arrive to quarter finals like as i explain. (by missing important things).
          where we arrive when we had real coaches?
          who arrive more than quarter finals in our history ?

          Menotti , Billardo and Sabella.
          those are coaches.


          and imagine that Maradona is not coach.

          so one person which is only leader and no coach bring us in the same level or higher that bring us the majority of the real coaches that we had in the national team history !!!

          • Just that Diego was not an experienced tactical coach at that point. Having said i really enjoyed those times of Argentina walking out with Messi in player list & Maradona as coach. Maradona was an amazing character & would have definitely grown with time. He should have continued . I think he immediately fought with AFA as they wanted his coaching staff to be changed.

    • Maradona leadership and charisma is par excellence, gain respect from his team mates and from the opponent. , but for conduct and humbleness is Messi

  3. It’s totally 2 very different players. Maradona was a classic 10 and a natural leader, his role was to make the difference but also to make others a better player. On the pitch, he always knew how to motivate his team, never complained or yelled on his team-mates. Messi is different, position wise, he’s more a trequartista, to be honest, he may be even more genius than Diego but the team needs to play for him and the playing style and the players around need to be a good fit with him.

  4. Well Maradona and Messi were both exeptional talents of their generation and good thing is both are Argentine. Now on current State of Argentina NT players there is a rumour that udinese fc are trying to sign Agustin Rossi of lanus fc as a replacement for Juan Muso in case he leaves for anther club which I hope it is Inter and Hopefully Inter also sign Rodrigo de paul because we need (young below 30)maximum(3 to 5 Argentine players) who can play for NT at a same european club(hopefully like Barca, Bayern, Atletico,Inter, Juventus etc) in order to improve team chemistry which can help in long run at National team.

  5. For me Maradona will always be ahead of Messi.
    Tbh I don’t love any of them whenever argentina wins it’s because Maradona and Messi single handedly won the match; but when argentina lost it’s because thier teammates let them down. I just don’t like this , other Argentina players didn’t get the credit they should hv been given.
    Argentina is bigger than Messi and Maradona.

  6. whatever Messi will do he will be second behind Diego in the hearts and in the minds of Argentinians. this is beyond football and the reasons is difficult to explain here to people that are not Argentines or they are not familiar with the Argentine culture.

    young people that they didn t live the era of Diego it is impossible to understand how Messi can be behind Diego.
    friends here that lived that era can understand my point.

    • I call that magical side of Diego. He could play in any team, could fit in any formation, could train on a parking and then play on a shitty pitch, he could play a very poor match but created 1 or 2 opportunities and finished by either goal or assist. He could win a match with 1 or 2 actions even though he played with injuries and heavy injection of pain killer.

  7. Now i really see Argentina worthy of winning Copa and World cup.As our eighty percent of playing eleven is not injury prone so there is good chance for Argentina to win some trophies.And our bench strength is quite strong so there is good chance.

  8. Imagine that Messi lift the WC with Maradona as coach, once upon a time they got the chance but missed it; our next big chance is Scaloni and Ayala as coach and watch Messi lift the Copa and WC, that’s more realistic to happen.

    learn much from the mistakes and don’t repeat it again

  9. Maradona was a genius no doubt about that but messi class is difrent his class far a ahead than diego messi is still playing same since his early days .

    • Messi scores over Maradona on consistency & longevity . Skills i would say they would be more or less the same.
      But Maradona will be always be admired more than Messi for :
      1) WC 1986 win – 5 goals & 5 assists in Argentina’s total 14 goals . 50+ fouls against him. Never before & maybe never again can 1 player stand so tall in a top competition.
      2) how he lifted a mid tier club like Napoli to win 2 Scudettos & 1 UEFA cup in a 4 year timeframe. Serie A was the best league then . If u see Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona – you will realize the genius of Maradona. He thrived in adversity.

    • Maradona’s early days was much more powerful than those of Messi. I watched some of his matches of wc82 recently during the quarantine, his level was already very far above all the best 10 that I know in 90s(Zidane, Boban, Laudrup, Rui Costa, Gascoigne, …etc.). Messi has been consistent but his peak was during 2010-2015 when Guardiola decided to create the false 9 role for him.

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