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Maradona: Messi is the best, but I hope he doesn’t have a great game against Napoli

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Barcelona are ready to start their UEFA Champions League knockouts

Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona (L) loo Photo credit should read DANIEL GARCIA/AFP via Getty Images

Diego Maradona has once again affirmed that, in his opinion, Lionel Messi is the best in the world. But perhaps for one of the first times, the former Argentina star is hoping his compatriot has an off day.

“I hope he doesn’t play a great game against Napoli,” Maradona told Italian radio as Barcelona prepare to take on Maradona’s other old team in the UEFA Champions League.

Maradona played for Barcelona but is remembered at club level for representing Napoli.

“I have given everything to Napoli, and Napoli has given everything to me, showing its affection,” he said.

He called Messi an “enormous talent” and “a very good boy” who “must continue his career and his life knowing that he is the best football player today.”

Previously, his son, Diego Jr., had told Spanish radio that he viewed Messi as the best in the world as well, adding that his dad always spoke well of him.

Diego Sr. was Messi’s coach during the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is usually complimentary, although he has taken some shots at the Barcelona star over the years. Regardless, it’s not surprising that Maradona has sided with Napoli over Barcelona, a club he performed with for only a brief stint.

“I hope that Napoli will surprise [everyone] and give joy to their people,” Maradona said.