East Rutherford (New Jersey): Chile football team coach Juan Antonio Pizzi yesterday rated just-retired Argentina star Lionel Messi as the best ever even as he missed his penalty kick in the Copa America final.
Juan Antonio Pizzi
The Argentina captain announced his retirement from international football after Pizzi's men defeated Argentina 4-2 on penalties at the MetLife Stadium here yesterday.
'Driven by numbers'
"On top of having an admiration for Messi, I'm driven very much by the numbers," Pizzi was quoted as saying by goal.com.
"Because I know what it means to value certain numbers and Messi's numbers are unmatched, and I don't think they will ever be matched because it's impossible for a player to find the things that Messi finds."
Argentina's Lionel Messi walks off after missing a penalty in the Copa America final tie-breaker against Chile on Sunday. Pic/AFP
"The people, at times, are very particular when it comes to valuing certain things," Pizzi remarked.
"I do it from a point of view that's very personal — everyone should do so from a personal point of view — and in my point of view Messi is the best player of all time."
Messi has always faced the pressure of living up to the legacy of Diego Maradona but Pizzi says it is difficult comparing the two.
"My generation can't compare (Messi) with Maradona, because of what Maradona did for Argentine soccer," Pizzi said.
"But it seems to be the best player in history played today here in the United States and for me the numbers are irrefutable."
The coach also praised his own team who successfully defended their title.
"That group has helped us become a strong national team, a team that can compete with the best,"
Caps for Argentina
Goals for Argentina
Number of FIFA Ballon d'Or titles
Beijing Olympic gold is his only major senior honour with Argentina
Number of Golden Boots awards won by Lionel Messi during his international career