A tale of two Argentinos: Messi and Maradona
Two great personalities, two time periods, two great goals, both players from Argentina, both of them short. If we exclude these characteristics, then they are just 2 different players playing football with endless passion. Both stars representing their respective generations. In spite of this differentiation, football pundits and crazy football fans continue to compare the duo.
The first great guy was 25 years old when he scored the amazing goal. He transformed himself into one of the kings of the football world. He was the team’s main man, the superstar of the squad.
Coming to the second player, only two years had passed since his arrival at the club, when he scored the stunning goal. The teams and games were different. The first match was the World Cup quarter final. The second game was Spanish King’s Cup semi-final. Let’s get introduced to the personalities that we have been praising and describing for a while. The first guy is none another than Diego Maradona, and the second player is our favourite and he’s all over the news. Lionel Messi.
Diego Maradona scored his goal, which we call the ‘Goal of the Century’ today, on 22 June, 1986 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico. The second marvellous goal was on 18 April,2007 at Barca’s Nou Camp.
It was the World Cup quarter final of 1986, and politics was all over the match between Argentina and England. It was the first time both teams were meeting on the pitch after the Fauklands War between both countries. But the air was filled with excitement and suspense. The referee blew the whistle and the game commenced. Fans shouting at the top of their voices. The game progressed with great passion and thrill. The first half came to an end with both parties unable to find the net. The focused player of the match, Maradona, unexpectedly scored in the 51st minute with his hand, which came to be known later as the “Hand Of God”.
When Diego leaped in the air to head the ball past England goalkeeper Peter Shelton, he could not position his head the right way, so he simply punched the ball with his bare hands. Argentina 1-0 England. 40 minutes of playing time was left. This was not fair play and was showing bad sportsmanship. But, Maradona removed the black stain from everyone’s heart by scoring the most spectacular goal the globe has ever witnessed.
This was the reaction of Victor Hugo Morales, the commentator of Radio Argentina, after the goal:
“They’re going to pass to Diego, now Maradona has it, two defenders on him. Maradona touches the ball. The genius of world football starts to his right. He leaves the third behind and is going to pass to Burruchaga. No Maradona was always going to keep it! Genius! Genius! Genius! It’s there it’s there it’s there it’s there it’s there and GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! GOOOOOOOOAL! GOOOOOOOOOAL! I Want to cry.! HOLY GOD! LONG LIVE FOOTBALL! GOLAZO! DIEGO! MARADONA! IT’S MOVING ME TO TEARS, FORGIVE ME! MARADONA, in an unforgettable run, IN THE GREATEST PLAY OF ALL TIME, COSMIC LITTLE BARREL,** WHAT PLANET DID YOU COME FROM, TO LEAVE SO MANY ENGLISHMEN IN YOUR WAKE? TO BRING THE WHOLE COUNTRY TOGETHER IN A TIGHT FIST? SHOUTING FOR ARGENTINA! ARGENTINA 2, ENGLAND 0! DIEGOAL! DIEGOAL! Diego Armando Maradona. Thank you God, for football, for Maradona, for these tears, for this Argentina 2, England 0.”
Messi was not born when this legend scored his legendary goal. 21 years later, Messi scored his ‘goal’ by taking on 6 players in front of him. It was truly a marvel, a beauty. The whole universe cheered as the 19-year old scored a stunner. I thank God I was there to witness this golden moment, though I regret missing Maradona’s great goal live.
I still remember the commentator’s words during Messi’s goal:
“Messi… Oh, brilliant skill from Lionel Messi, searching forth with real menace here. Brilliant from Messi… Oh, what a goal that is!! The ground stands and applauds the 19-year old. Have you seen a better goal than that anywhere this season? I very much doubt it. It was sensational.”
I am sure this beauty reminds everyone of Diego Maradona. Diego and Lionel dribbled the ball 62 metres, taking on 6 opponents in front of them, to score their magical goals. Their scoring positions were also similar. But just like Maradona, Messi also scored with his hand against Espanyol on June 10th, 2007. History repeats itself once again!