AC Milan legend Alessandro Costacurta reveals 15-minute nightmare against 16-year-old Lionel Messi made him ask to come off… with ex-Italy star branding striker ‘more of a genius’ than Diego Maradona
- Alessandro Costacurta played 458 games for AC Milan and is a club legend
- He has recalled playing a young Lionel Messi when Argentine was breaking in
- Costacurta said Messi ‘did what he wanted’ and defender asked to be subbed
- He went on to add that Messi is more of the genius than Diego Maradona
Legendary Italian defender Alessandro Costacurta has revealed that 15 minutes up against a 16-year-old Lionel Messi was enough to ask to be subbed off.
Costacurta, who played 458 times for AC Milan and earned more than 50 caps for his country, lined up against the Argentine when he was just starting to break through for Barcelona.
The future six-time Ballon d’Or winner would run the defender ragged on that day to the point where he asked manager Carlo Ancelotti to come off.
Legendary former AC Milan star Alessandro Costacurta recalled playing Lionel Messi briefly
Costacurta said Messi could ‘do what he wanted’ and the defender asked to be substituted
He told Marca: ‘I faced Messi when he was only 16 years old. At first I saw him as a child and did what he wanted.
‘After a quarter of an hour I had to ask Ancelotti to replace me.’
Costacurta also weighed in on the eternal debate comparing Messi with another Argentine great, Diego Maradona, who he also played against.
He witnessed Maradona’s abilities first hand when the diminutive forward lined up for Napoli.
But the 54-year-old former centre-back believes it is the younger man who is a better player, with the added caveat that the Barcelona star is given more protection from referees.
He went on: ‘They are similar because of their genius and the way they express themselves on the field, but Messi is more genius than Maradona.
‘The difference is that we could do 66 fouls to Maradona before being warned. With Leo it is different, football is now something else.’
The Barcelona star is currently preparing for LaLiga’s return to competition this month
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