Pique draws a line between Messi and Maradona, and his argument is agreeable

Gerard Pique, as expected, sided with Lionel Messi when asked to choose between his Barcelona teammate and Diego Maradona.

Maradona and Messi

The debate about who’s the best of the two Argentines has resurfaced this week with Barça due to play Napoli in the Champions League, the Italian side for whom Maradona produced some of his best football.

“Maradona’s a unique player in the history of football who will be remembered forever,” Pique said. “He gave a lot to the sport and played for both Barça and Napoli.

“But if you’re asking me to pick between Diego and Leo, I would go with the consistency and the magic that Leo produces every day.”

Pique was also asked if he could see Messi ending his career in Naples: “Never say never in football, but I imagine it’s difficult. But Leo’s in charge of his own future. I hope he retires here… in Barcelona.”

Quique Setien will make his debut in the Champions League on Tuesday when Barcelona take on Napoli in Italy in the last 16 of the competition.

Lionel Messi has now stepped foot inside the Temple of Diego Maradona, the San Paolo, where the ex-Argentine forward spent six successful years as a player. It was a moment immortalised by passage of photographers and television cameras.

Hundreds of journalists were waiting for Messi to arrive at Napoli’s stadium and he was the last of the Barça players to head out for training on Monday.

He did so seriously, focused and aware of the importance of the occasions. He also did so very naturally. He then joined up with his teammates, where he shared a joke with Gerard Pique.

Messi’s arrival in Naples has been highly anticipated. It’s the first time he’s been there for an official game with Barça and the Maradona comparisons have been non-stop.

Barça were training ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game against Napoli, the first leg of their last 16 tie.