It’s a shame that Diego Maradona wasn’t around to witness Lionel Messi inspiring Argentina to a first major international title since 1993.
Messi was the Copa America’s most outstanding player and top scorer this summer.
"Diego, if he were still here, would have been very happy with this title,” former Argentine player and coach Cesar Luis Menotti told reporters, per Goal, earlier this month.
“He would have been out there hugging Messi and there would have been tears.”
Who is better: Maradona or Messi?
Maradona passed away at the age of 60 in November 2020 after suffering a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home.
One of the greatest footballers of all time, Maradona will always have the edge over Messi in the eyes of some football fans - especially those in Argentina.
Maradona famously led La Albiceleste to World Cup glory in 1986. Messi came agonisingly close to lifting the same trophy in 2014, only for Germany to beat Argentina in the final.
He may have one final opportunity to land his hands on football’s biggest prize at the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar next winter.
Some will always prefer Maradona over Messi
Messi, who is currently a free agent but is expected to sign a contract extension with Barcelona ahead of the 2021-22 season, will be 35 years old by the time the next World Cup comes around.
But even if he manages to win the World Cup, there were still be people who say that Maradona was a more gifted footballer than the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
It’s true that Maradona played at a time where opponents would often get away with terrible tackles.
The legendary forward was constantly targeted but that never deterred him from always demanding the ball. As well as being incredibly talented, he was also remarkably brave.
Video of Maradona training in the mud is gold
Maradona, like every other player in the 1980s, also had to play and train on dreadful pitches from time to time.
His most famous goal - well, perhaps his second most famous goal behind the Hand of God - against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals, where he dribbled from his own half before scoring, was produced on an uneven surface at the Azteca Stadium.
Regardless of the state of the pitch, Maradona was capable of producing magic.
To further prove this point, check out this incredible clip of the great man training in thick mud.
On the waterlogged, muddy swamp of a surface, Maradona still managed to score several goals that most professionals could only dream of.
His close-range chip on 20 seconds and his acrobatic effort towards the end of the video are particularly impressive moments.
The guy was an absolute football genius.
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