BARCELONA (Reuters) – Lionel Messi is the one Argentine to really dwell as much as being described as the subsequent Diego Maradona so it was little shock the Barcelona captain ought to dedicate his aim in Sunday’s 4-0 Liga win over Osasuna to his late compatriot.
Argentina’s two iconic gamers could also be contrasting characters however they shared many traits together with a bond with Newell’s Previous Boys and the Barca captain eliminated his shirt to disclose the crimson and black of the Rosario membership earlier than pointing to the sky.
Messi was born a 12 months after Maradona captained Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 in Mexico however he was at Newell’s stadium as a fan in 1993 when Maradona made his debut for the membership.
Messi’s aim on Sunday was placing in its similarity to 1 Maradona scored that day towards Emelec, each gamers dribbling throughout the sting of the world earlier than discovering the highest nook.
It was not the one time Messi imitated Maradona.
His solo effort towards Getafe in 2007 was a carbon copy of Maradona’s second towards England within the ‘86 World Cup quarter-final additionally remembered for the Argentine’s “Hand of God” aim.
Sparked by a dance previous two gamers close to the midway line, it was completed off with a dribble around the keeper and a slide to the bottom because the ball trickled into the online.
That very same season, Messi produced his personal “Hand of God” second by punching the ball into the online towards Espanyol, prompting an Argentine commentator to yell: “That’s Maradona dressed up as Messi. He has been reincarnated.”
The 2 gamers additionally shared a low centre of gravity, unimaginable passing vary and imaginative and prescient plus a magical left foot, though their characters typically appeared worlds aside.
Maradona craved the highlight all through his eventful profession and was typically within the information for his off-field actions.
But that usually helped his picture, significantly in Argentina the place hundreds of individuals have defied COVID-19 restrictions to mourn their hero, who died aged 60 on Wednesday.
Whereas Messi sampled the Barcelona night time life as a youth, he’s a personal household man, having had three boys with childhood sweetheart Antonela Roccuzzo who he married in 2017.
The largest scandal was when he was discovered responsible of tax fraud, a cost additionally confronted by Maradona whose stellar profession was truncated by years of drug use, overeating and alcoholism.
However who ranks as the higher participant?
Maradona scored 346 targets in 679 matches for his golf equipment and nation in all competitions however two drug bans plus well being and damage issues meant he solely spent eight years on the very high of his sport.
Messi, who started his profession in 2004, has performed 855 matches and scored 712 targets, with nonetheless just a few years left in him at 33.
He’s Barca’s report scorer and most adorned participant, hoisting 10 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League trophies.
Maradona by no means gained Europe’s high membership prize however he did drag an unusual Napoli facet to 2 Serie A titles and a UEFA Cup triumph, whereas he was equally talismanic for Argentina and the dominant participant on the 1986 World Cup.
Messi is Argentina’s all-time high scorer however luck has abandoned him when it issues most. He was on the shedding facet within the 2014 World Cup closing which was misplaced to Germany in further time and tasted defeat in two Copa America finals on penalties.
“Maradona is unquestionably one of the best participant I ever noticed, however Messi followers shouldn’t get offended about that as a result of he lives in a distinct period,” Argentina’s president Alberto Fernandez stated earlier this 12 months.
“However you might put Maradona alongside 10 broomsticks and he would nonetheless make the staff win.”
Former gamers discover it tougher to decide on who was one of the best.
“Diego was extra creative and extra passionate, however Messi has achieved extra,” stated Maradona’s ex-Argentina staff mate Jorge Valdano.
Present Atletico Madrid supervisor Diego Simeone, who performed with Maradona for Sevilla and Argentina added: “It doesn’t make sense to decide on between them, they performed in numerous eras.
“Diego was rather more emotional however Leo scored many extra targets. They had been each terribly good however very totally different.”
Reporting by Richard Martin; Modifying by Ken Ferris