Barcelona: Barcelona's talismanic forward Lionel Messi said on Saturday he was inspired by Argentine legend Diego Maradona right from his childhood.
The Barcelona star has been compared to his legendary predessesor over the last few years because of their playing styles.
"I never followed anyone in particular, although when I started to think for myself Diego (Maradona) had recently returned home," Messi was quoted as saying by goal.com. "That was in 1993."
"He joined Newell's Old Boys when he came back from Spain and was part of the national team that qualified for USA '94. If anybody inspired me starting out, it was undoubtedly him."
The 28-year-old has claimed four Ballon d'Or titles and was instrumental in getting Argentina to the World Cup final in 2014. But Messi says he is not obsessed with success.
"I always enjoy playing football. It's what I love doing most and I'll keep playing as long as I can," he said. "I dream (about football), but I don't become obsessed by it. There's more to my life than football."
"I try to deal with it by being as normal as I can. I go out, enjoy life and spend time with my family and friends just like everybody else," he added. "Just like there are great professionals who save lives and create things so we can live better, I play football so that others can be entertained."
"I'm so grateful that it's worked out that way."