Messi has won almost every trophy available to him during an illustrious club career with Barcelona, but he is yet to match Maradona's World Cup-winning exploits with Argentina.
The success the likes of Maradona, Pele and Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed with their respective countries is often used against Messi in the greatest of all time debate, but Cassano believes that the 32-year-old's consistent excellence over a long period has taken him to the top of the pile.
"Maradona did something never seen before for four or five years, but Messi has done the same things for 15 years," Cassano told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.
"He has scored 710 goals and 300 assists. When he plays you start with a 1-0 lead. The 'Maradonians' have to accept it: there is someone who has ousted him."
Messi has won 33 trophies with Barcelona, including 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns. body check tags ::