Lionel Messi is the one Argentine to actually stay 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 Old Boys and the Barca captain eliminated his shirt to disclose the pink and black of the Rosario membership earlier than pointing to the sky.
Messi was born a yr 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 hanging in its similarity to 1 Maradona scored that day in opposition to Emelec, each gamers dribbling throughout the sting of the realm earlier than discovering the highest nook.
It was not the one time Messi imitated Maradona.
His solo effort in opposition to Getafe in 2007 was a carbon copy of Maradona’s second in opposition to England within the ‘86 World Cup quarter-final also 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 identical season, Messi produced his personal “Hand of God” second by punching the ball into the online in opposition to Espanyol, prompting an Argentine commentator to yell: “That’s Maradona dressed up as Messi. He has been reincarnated.”
The two gamers additionally shared a low centre of gravity, unbelievable 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.
Yet that always helped his picture, notably in Argentina the place 1000’s of individuals have defied COVID-19 restrictions to mourn their hero, who died aged 60 on Wednesday.
While Messi sampled the Barcelona night time life as a youth, he’s a non-public 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.
But who ranks as the higher participant?
Maradona scored 346 objectives in 679 matches for his golf equipment and nation in all competitions however two drug bans plus well being and harm issues meant he solely spent eight years on the very prime of his recreation.
Messi, who started his profession in 2004, has performed 855 matches and scored 712 objectives, with nonetheless a couple of years left in him at 33.
He is Barca’s file scorer and most adorned participant, hoisting 10 La Liga titles and 4 Champions League trophies.
Maradona by no means received Europe’s prime membership prize however he did drag an peculiar Napoli aspect 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 prime scorer however luck has abandoned him when it issues most. He was on the shedding aspect within the 2014 World Cup last which was misplaced to Germany in further time and tasted defeat in two Copa America finals on penalties.
“Maradona is definitely the best player I ever saw, but Messi fans shouldn’t get angry about that because he lives in a different era,” Argentina’s president Alberto Fernandez mentioned earlier this yr.
“But you could put Maradona alongside 10 broomsticks and he would still make the team win.”
Former gamers discover it tougher to decide on who was the perfect.
“Diego was more artistic and more passionate, but Messi has achieved more,” mentioned Maradona’s ex-Argentina crew mate Jorge Valdano.
Current Atletico Madrid supervisor Diego Simeone, who performed with Maradona for Sevilla and Argentina added: “It doesn’t make sense to choose between them, they played in different eras.
“Diego was much more emotional but Leo scored many more goals. They were both extraordinarily good but very different.”