The Blaugrana center-back believes his team-mate is the superior of the two Argentine footballing greats.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique claims that Lionel Messi’s consistency makes him a much better player than Diego Maradona.

Both footballing greats have often been compared to one another, having both played for Barcelona and Argentina.

But while Pique has high praise for Maradona’s accomplishments, he considers the longevity of Messi’s top-notch performances marks him out as the best.

“Maradona was a special player in the history of soccer, he travelled through Barca and Napoli, he is going to be remembered forever,” Pique stated in a press conference.

“But if you ask me to choose between Leo or Diego, I’d say Messi because of his consistency and the magic that he generates on a daily basis.”

Barcelona head coach Quique Setien also had special words of praise for his star player in advance of the meeting with Maradona’s former team Napoli.

“Messi is a wonderful football player, he’s been standing outside for 15 years in each and every game, which makes him different from the rest,” Setien stated.

“We’ve not seen a player with such consistency. I also enjoyed Maradona, Cruyff and other soccer players that made us love this game.”

The first leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie in Italy on Tuesday night comes right before a possibly title-deciding clash with Real Madrid in La Liga, and Pique is sure that he and his team-mates cannot manage to save themselves for El Clasico, but working hard for a positive outcome is more beneficial for their national experience.

“The result of tomorrow’s game will somehow affect the Clasico,” Pique continued. “If we want peace of mind, we must win and keep winning and perform well.”

However, the center-back accepts that Napoli will pose a serious threat and the group has to go out with the ideal mentality in both legs to be able to avoid throwing away a lead and being pumped out as they were contrary to Roma and Liverpool.

“We’ll never forget Roma and Liverpool, but from the large defeats you can get positive things and look to the future, with this experience we’ll understand how to confront everything that comes, things we’ve learned.

“We fear several things about Napoli, they’ve improved lately, they have very good players such as [Dries] Mertens and [Lorenzo] Insigne. They’ll cause us trouble if we do not go out with the perfect mindset.”