Pope Francis has picked Lionel Messi as the greatest soccer player of all time. The Pope was in Poland for World Youth Day when a child asked him: “Who is better, Maradona or Pele?” The Pope seemed to reject the premise of the question and, according to reports, responded, “For me, Messi.”
Pope Francis did not elaborate on why he thinks Messi is the greatest footballer ever, but the 79-year-old does have the benefit of having watched all the greats, including Maradona and Pele, in his lifetime. Francis, who is the leader of the Catholic Church, is a known soccer fan who supports San Lorenzo in his native Argentina.
Though the Maradona-Messi debate is a popular one in Argentina, these days the global debate seems to center around Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. Given the Pope’s response here, we can only assume he is on Team Messi for that one, too.
It’s unclear if having the Pope’s blessing, so to speak, could make Messi reconsider his decision to retire from playing for Argentina. Messi is a practicing Catholic though, so surely the Pope’s words provide some divine inspiration.