De Futebol

I found this little diddy in the Daily Mail. Take a look. Read and enjoy.

Messi or Maradona… the debate is destined to continue through the ages. Two football icons from the same nation but representing different generations and possessing polar opposite personalities.

Maradona won the World Cup, Messi four Champions Leagues. Maradona was idolised wherever he went in Argentina, Spain and Italy; Messi has played his entire career with Barcelona. Maradona was busted for drugs, Messi is squeaky-clean.

By rating the Argentine legends in different categories, Sportsmail hopes to shed some light on who was the greatest. But the debate will never go away.

NATURAL ABILITY

Diego Maradona was regarded as the most gifted player of all-time when 19-year-old Lionel Messi dribbled from the halfway line to score for Barcelona against Getafe in what appeared a copycat of Diego’s immortal second goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.

Both Maradona and Messi had a magician’s left foot that would allow the ball to remain under control at all times. Gary Lineker said the most amazing thing about Maradona’s solo goal in Mexico City was the state of the Azteca Stadium pitch.

‘Nobody else could control the ball because the turf had been relaid and it moved under your feet, yet Maradona dribbled from the halfway line. Lord knows what he could do on the modern bowling greens.’

Nobody juggled like Maradona either, whether with his feet, knees, head or thighs. Check him out on YouTube.

Messi does have better surfaces to compete on but when faced with packed and organised defences, he can somehow trick two or three players in a couple of yards. The sensitivity of his feet is incredible.

Maradona: 9/10, Messi 9/10

GOALSCORING

Diego Maradona scored more than 300 goals in his career, a fantastic record for someone who played most of his career in midfield and was often the playmaker for his clubs. Yet Messi has taken goalscoring to another level, he and Cristiano Ronaldo have outscored even the great players from the 1930s and 40s.

Messi is Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer with 337, the leading scorer in European Cup/Champions League history and Argentina’s leading scorer with 57. And he doesn’t celebrate his 30th birthday until June.

Messi scores all types of goals; dribbles, shots outside the box, free-kicks, he’s even scored a Champions League Final header against Manchester United. Maradona scored equally spectactular goals but didn’t play as far up the field where the marking is often tighter.

Maradona 7/10, Messi 9/10

STRENGTH

Maradona was short, squat and had thighs like tree trunks. In an era where defenders could kick lumps out creative players and get away with it, particularly in Serie A, he never shirked in the presence of hatchet-men during his career, even after Andoni Goikoetxea broke his leg in 1984 and kept him out for the year.

Messi is much better protected by referees and has been known to struggle when crowded out hard and organised defenders – Chelsea stopped him more than once in Champions League games – but he has a different kind of strength.

He plays week-in, week-out, every game for Barcelona, every game for Argentina. This ability to stay focussed let alone be consistently brilliant when all eyes are on him takes a rare kind of courage.

Maradona: 9/10, Messi 7/10

TROPHIES

At club level, Messi has been fortunate to play his whole career in a great Barcelona team, and collected an unprecedented trophy haul; eight Spanish league titles, four Copa del Reys, three World Club Cups and four Champions League winners’ medals (although he never made it on the pitch in 2006) in an era when it has come to rival the World Cup as the most important tournament in the world.

‘He is the greatest of all-time. I had the privilege to train him,’ is Pep Guardiola’s view even after he’d come unstuck against the Argentine as manager of Bayern Munich.

Maradona’s club career was less glitzy, but he won two Serie A titles and two Uefa Cups with a Napoli team that was far inferior to the teams that Messi played in. His two tilts at the European Cup could be considered unfortunate, drawn against Real Madrid in the first round in 1988 and then beaten on penalties after two goalless draws with Spartak Moscow three years later, when Maradona was on the wane.

 

The World Cup is of course where Maradona scores big. He almost single-handedly led Argentina to the trophy in 1986, abetted by his Hand of God. Messi was handed the armband in the Brazil three years ago to try and replicate the feat but came up just short, beaten by Germany in the final.

Maradona: 9/10, Messi 9/10

LONGEVITY

‘I think he’s gone past Pele,’ said TV pundit David Pleat after watching 25-year-old Maradona dominate an entire World Cup like no player before or since. But after five years in which he burned brighter than any sportsman on the planet, he was effectively washed up and finished by 30, his off-field fondness for drink, drugs, women and gangsters eventually taking its toll.

Maradona’s career petered out after Napoli, with Sevilla and then back home in Argentina with his beloved Boca Juniors. He lost 16 kilos to get himself fit for the 1994 World Cup but after a fantastic goal against Greece, he was sent home in disgrace for failing a drugs test.

Maradona always viewed that as a conspiracy but admitted a serious drug problem had overshadowed his life. ‘I will always be an addict,’ he confessed many years later after coming close to death.

Messi’s consistency is absurd. He has scored 41 goals in 40 games this season, a typical return for him more than a decade after breaking through as a kid at the Nou Camp to leave the Brazilian great Ronaldinho to acknowledge: ‘Am I the best in the world? I’m not even the best at Barcelona.’

Maradona 7/10, Messi 9/10

LEGACY

For all the controversies and rebellion, Diego Maradona is revered in Argentina as an all-time national hero, arguably the most popular and famous figure from his country alongside Eva Peron (Evita).

The story of the tiny kid from the Buenos Aires slums conquering the world with his fierce sense of patriotism and fight against injustice will never be forgotten despite all his personal flaws.

When he worked as a TV pundit at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, security guards had to be posted at the end of his row in the media seats such was the interest from the rest of the world’s press corps to gawp at him, something that never happened even for Pele, Cruyff or Zidane.

‘I really loved Maradona as a player and tried to emulate him playing keepie-uppie,’ says one of his big fans, British tennis star Andy Murray. And there are millions like him.

We don’t know what Messi’s legacy will be yet because he hasn’t finished, and recent tax allegations have tarnished his image a little.

But he’s also the first modern football global superstar to reach his rarefied level of fame simply by being exceptional at this sport. If you think of George Best, Paul Gascoigne, David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, their global brand was intertwined with either bad behaviour or glam appeal.

Not so Messi; he has achieved his glory only by being glorious, and every parent whose son or daughter is into football will be gladdened by that.

Maradona 9/10, Messi 8/10

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4338642/Lionel-Messi-vs-Diego-Maradona-Greatest.html#ixzz4cx14cv6y

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