To look like Diego Maradona would be the biggest dream of any soccer player and to be told that you are the Maradona of your country is a source of pride. That happened to a Greek player who was called the Greek Maradona but had he not finished his career the way he did, he could have been better than Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Vasilis Hatzipanagis was one of the best players in the history of Greece, or the best and that is why they called him the Greek Maradona. At 16 he made his debut in the USSR league but he wanted to play in Greece so at 17 he came to his country as a star. At that moment the Greek Maradona filled a stadium for their first match.
Unfortunately, Vasilis Hatzipanagis was never able to play for his team as the USSR did not allow Greece to play in international tournaments so only the Greeks knew their Maradona. In 1990, Vasilis Hatzipanagis decided to retire at age 34, remaining anonymous and hoping that he could have been better than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Those who saw him play Vasilis Hatzipanagis affirmed that his ability to play soccer was superlative. Vasilis Hatzipanagis was very similar to Diego Maradona. In 1999 the Greek team summoned him for a match since he had never played and he decided to return from retirement to play. That was Greece's way of honoring their best player in history, who they called the Greek Maradona and they say he was better than Lionel Messi.