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15th Jun 2022

Lionel Messi doesn’t make top three players ever due to ‘personality, Marco van Basten claims

Callum Boyle

Lionel Messi Marco Van Basten

Angry Messi fans incoming

Marco van Basten believes that Lionel Messi isn’t in the top three greatest footballers ever due to his ‘personality’ on the pitch.

Messi is lauded by many as the best to ever grace the pitch having won seven Ballon d’Or awards and scored over 800 goals for club and country during his glittering career.

The 34-year-old has been doing it week in, week out for the best part of almost 15 years but Dutch legend Van Basten feels that Messi is not one of the top three players.

Instead, the former Holland international named three others who, to be fair, are all worthy contenders as well.

“Pele, [Diego] Maradona and [Johan] Cruyff are for me the three greatest players in history,” he said according to Marca.

“As a kid I wanted to be like Cruyff. He was my friend. I miss him. Pele and Maradona were also incredible.”

While Van Basten still has a lot of praise for Messi, he feels that his lack of aggression on the pitch and unwillingness “to go to war” are traits that hold him back.

“Messi is also a great player, but Maradona always had more personality in a team. Messi is not the one who puts himself at the front to go to war.”

Van Basten thinks Messi is better than Ronaldo

Despite the critique, the former Ajax boss still feels that Messi is better than the man everyone compares him to, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Cristiano is a great player, but those who say he is better than Messi know nothing about football, or they are saying it in bad faith,” he once told Corriere dello Sport.

“Messi is one of a kind. Impossible to imitate and impossible to repeat. A player like him comes along every 50 or 100 years. As a kid, he fell into the football genius pot.”

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