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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 19 February, 2018

Messi is better than Pele and Maradona, says Pope Francis

The San Lorenzo supporter was not shy when quizzed on football’s greatest player.

Lionel Messi with Pope Francis.
Lionel Messi with Pope Francis.

FIVE-TIME BALLON d’Or winner Lionel Messi has been proclaimed the best ever footballer by Pope Francis.

Barcelona and Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer, Messi has constantly been compared to past greats Pele and Diego Maradona, while going head-to-head with Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Pope Francis – the leader of the Catholic Church and a renowned San Lorenzo supporter – threw his support behind countryman Messi.

For me, [Lionel] Messi is better than Maradona and Pele,” Pope Francis was quoted by Marca as telling young men and women participating in World Youth Day.

Messi endured a difficult Copa America Centenario, stunning the world when he announced his retirement from national team duty after Argentina lost to Chile on penalties in the final.

The 29-year-old, though, finally returned to the pitch as Barcelona kicked off their LaLiga preparations with a 3-1 win over Celtic in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.

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