Argentina ace Riquelme says that Messi is swiftly replacing Maradona as Argentina's biggest football hero
Boca Juniors midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme has stated that Barcelona star Lionel Messi is slowly replacing Diego Maradona as Argentine football's main character.
Barca ace Lionel Messi celebrates a goal during Sunday's 4-0 win over Santos in the Club World Cup final in Yokohama.
Messi grabbed a classy brace as Barcelona out-classed Brazilians Santos 4-0 to lift the Club World Cup on Sunday and confirm their status as the best team on the planet. Just a week earlier the diminutive Argentine's wizardry helped the Catalans overcome arch rivals Real Madrid 3-1 to win the season's first El Clasica.
Diego Maradona in his prime (1985). Pics/AFP, Getty images
Riquelme stressed that Maradona is considered to be the best player ever by Argentines of older generations, but added that Messi has taken his place with the younger football fans. "I was lucky enough to grow up during the era of Diego Maradona, who all Argentinians consider the greatest player ever," Riquelme was quoted as saying on the official Fifa website.
Juan Roman Riquelme
"After watching him play I used to run out onto the street with my mates, get the ball and pretend that I was him. I'd be commentating on myself and saying 'Maradona has the ball', stuff like that.
"Now that's what my son's like with Lionel Messi: he starts kicking the ball and saying 'Messi's on the ball'. "For people my age, Maradona is the main man. But for younger generations, like my boy, Messi is their hero," said the 33-year-old, who has won over 50 caps for Argentina and lifted the Apertura title with Boca Juniors earlier this month.