Each males have change into a part of Argentina’s nationwide id, Messi inheriting the late Maradona’s brilliance and shirt on the pitch. Off it, they may hardly have been extra completely different, one a diffident household man the opposite a flamboyant troublemaker.
“Lio is the Argentine all of us wish to be – respectful, seeing doorways open for him everywhere in the world, projecting a superb picture, together with his household all over the place,” Marcelo Sottile, creator of “Messi El Distinto” (Messi, The Completely different One), advised Reuters.
“Diego is a little bit of the Argentine that we actually are: the fighter who rebels towards energy, the showoff.”
Maradona died two years in the past, his legacy tainted by medicine and scandal however nonetheless beloved by Argentines who forgave the flawed genius who introduced them the 1986 World Cup virtually single-handedly.
For all his success with Barcelona and regardless of changing into Argentina’s all-time prime scorer, Messi has struggled to earn such unconditional love and is determined to match Maradona by profitable the World Cup in Qatar at his fifth and remaining try.
He leads Argentina towards Australia within the final 16 afterward Saturday on the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
‘SLAVES TO MARADONA’
“I’m 48 years outdated, my era are emotional slaves to Maradona, he’s our idol, he’s the poster on the wall of the room,” Sottile advised Reuters, noting how older Argentines are extra inclined to match Messi unfavorably.
“The under-30s by no means subjected Messi to this inquisition. My 18-year-old son by no means questioned him, by no means mentioned ‘you are enjoying effectively for Barcelona however not for Argentina’.”
Messi did wonders for his standing in Argentina by main the nationwide workforce to the Copa America trophy in 2021, beating outdated rivals Brazil in their very own well-known Maracana stadium.
However solely a World Cup would give him Maradona’s stature.
“Folks demand extra from Messi as a result of he is come on the scene to compete with and rival Maradona. For the final 15 years, he is been among the many three greatest gamers on the planet. It’s a must to applaud a person with that consistency,” Sottile mentioned.
“However sadly he must win right here as a result of in Argentina profitable is what counts. Successful makes you the undisputed magnificence … Argentines are very demanding. It is an infinite footballing sin for Messi to have performed 4 World Cups and never win.”
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