That said, I don't know if there's a need at all to identify a single player at the top. I agree with purists who consider it sacrilegious to compare players across generations because in any such comparison there is an implicit assumption of "everything else being equal". How can everything else ever be equal? Barcelona, without Messi, would probably still win most of the trophies they have won in the recent past. Napoli, on the other hand, shone briefly just during the time Maradona donned their colors. And what can you say about 1986? Four years after the Falklands war and four minutes after the most controversial goal in history, Maradona manufactured what is most definitely the greatest goal ever scored. Who writes scripts like that? How is that even sport?
So I'm unwilling to engage in the Messi vs. Maradona debate. Here's what I'll say; if my son had to pick a sporting role model I'd ask him to pick Messi. If I had to read a biography, I'd pick old Diego's.