Former Real Madrid GM Jorge Valdano says its wrong to declare Barcelona star Lionel Messi as the game's greatest.

Valdano believes Messi still falls short of his former Argentina teammate Diego Maradona.

"We judge Maradona based on his entire career, while Messi is still only 24. The fact that we're already comparing them is a tribute to what Lionel has achieved," Valdano told Sport.

"If we have to differ between them, you can say that Maradona was more artistic and had a unique, beautiful style of play. Messi on the other hand is more efficient and more consistent. He's dangerous every time he gets the ball.

"If he continues to perform at this level, he will exceed everyone, including Pele."