"I respect Maradona because he is one of the greatest. For me he was a star, but in Argentina they know that he is light-years behind the best Argentinian footballer in history, who, for me, is Messi," said Ramos.

The motive behind the comments? Revenge, of course. This is Sergio Ramos.

No, he wasn't just being nice about one of his most bitter foes. Earlier in the week, Maradona had claimed Ramos was not as good as Atletico Madrid and Uruguay defender Diego Godin.

Ramos, Godin and Messi are all currently on duty with their respective nations at the World Cup in Russia.

Maradona was named FIFA Player of the Century, a one-off award created by FIFA to decide the greatest football player of the 20th century, alongside Pele.

The 57-year-old also captained Argentina to victory at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.

With 64 goals to his name, 30-year-old Messi is Argentina's all-time leading goalscorer but he has yet to win a World Cup, having fallen just short in 2014 as La Albiceleste lost in extra time in the final against Germany.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 and will continue until July 15, with the matches being played in 11 cities across Russia.