Compare Messi To Sachin, Not Ronaldo – Keshava Guha
On November 22, as Argentina were defeated by Saudi Arabia and it looked like Lionel Messi was never going to take home the World Cup, I found myself contemplating an old series of scenarios.
What would have happened if Jose Pekerman had brought Messi onto the pitch, instead of the massive and tall Julio Cruz, against Germany in Berlin in 2006? Messi was only a only a few days over his 19th birthday. Would he as Pele during 1958, had announced his abilities in front of the largest stage, and even won the World Cup as a teenager? Messi did not play and Argentina were eliminated with penalties.
What if , in 2010 when Messi at his best physical form, Argentina had gone to the World Cup with any coach other than Diego Maradona? Because of a lack of sexiness, Maradona had left at home two key athletes, Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti who had recently taken home the Champions League with Inter Milan and could have given Argentina with an orderly and tactical edge. With Messi and no organization, Argentina were knocked out in a 4-0 defeat by Germany.
What would have happened if Gonzalo Higuain had converted his chances in the 2014 final (yet again it is Germany)? In 2006, and even in 2010 Messi’s fans didn’t have any reason to worry because he was still young and his time was coming. 2014 was to be that year.
What would you think if Diego Simeone, arguably the most outstanding trainer Argentina have ever had would have offered his services to the national team of Argentina?
Argentine soccer has an extensive tradition of if-onlys and what-ifs. The world is familiar with that 1958 World Cup for Pele. Argentinians recall it in a different way. A year earlier, Argentina had won the Copa America with devastatingly fluid football unlike anything ever seen in the past or after. They beat Brazil away by a score of with a score of 3-0. This team was comprised of five outstanding attackers, referred to collectively by the name of carasucias(“dirty faces” in references to James Cagney film Angels with Dirty Faces).
The summer before three carasucias signed by Italian clubs, and eventually excommunicated by the Argentine Football Association. It’s difficult to find the better illustration that “cutting the nose off to hide you face”. In 1962, the three of them were representing Italy. Argentina was eliminated from their 1958 World Cup at the group stage.
Many of the themes from the history of Argentina’s football, as well as Messi’s life can be observed in this show. Football managers are known for their the ugliness and foolishness, more than rational thinking; allegations of loyalty infringement; and, most importantly the fact that they are rich. The three star players in 1958 are tragic forerunners. Every single half-decent Argentine player is now moving abroad in Europe and to Europe, the USA, Mexico. In the past, Argentina was one of the wealthiest nations in the world and was a magnet for European economic migrants in the form of ships. Since the first coup d’état in the year 1930 Argentina is a example of how to destroy the economy and democratic system.
Messi quit Argentina at the age of 13. His achievements were astonishing and he required every day injections with growth hormones to get tall enough to be able to use these. FC Barcelona, unlike clubs in Argentina they were open and could afford to pay. In 2005 Messi was a part of Barca’s first team, as well as the most prominent player in the Argentina team which won the U-20 World Cup. In 2010 or 2011, at the earliest, Messi had indisputably entered the group of seven or six candidates to be the greatest male footballer ever. His career has been being a storyline that is tied to two members of the circles. It is not enough to read an article. is usually difficult to find one sentence about Messi that doesn’t contain his names Maradona or Ronaldo
Messi was the final in a series of “next Maradonas”, and the only one who lived to the title. For fans of football who are who are too young to have seen Maradona as well as those who preceded him (other names frequently included in the magic circle include Pele, di Stefano, Puskas and Cruyff) Messi is the other half of the “GOAT debate” which demands everyone choose between Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Maradona himself recognized Messi’s talents in the early days. The similarities are evident: height Low center of gravity, extraordinary near control as well as vision left-footedness. But until recently, Messi was not adored in Argentina to the same degree in the same way as Diego Armando Maradona. The root of the issue was not the fact that Messi failed to be a winner of an World Cup than the old problem of loyalty. Messi was never a part of an Argentinian club, but he was part of one of the most wealthy clubs around the globe and a team that was constructed to suit his preferences. Maradona’s finest time in Europe were in Napoli which was a club for people of the working class who were much as Argentinian rather than Western European (a commonly used term for Italians from Argentina is “tano” and comes originated from Neapolitan). In the past, Messi – with his Argentine wife and flawless Argentine accent was considered to be much more Catalan rather than Argentine. He could be a player for Spain should he want to.
The Messi-Ronaldo controversy is unfortunately an example of the current football culture. In the past, Socrates – the legendary Brazilian midfielder who was also a journalist and doctor stated there were only 2 players who were interested in this “GOAT” thing was Pele and Maradona as football was an individual sport. Nowadays, football fans, especially those who aren’t from Europe are just more likely to play as an individual as they do a team. They’re as thin-skinned and insecure as fanatics in the world of cinema or politics. They are a zero-sum sport and you must pick which side to support.
Messi and Ronaldo is too often, presented as artistry or talent versus the hard work. However, Ronaldo is as talented as anyone else and Messi is among the most disciplined athletes at any sport. In this respect, he’s significantly better Ronaldo then Maradona. A large part of the difference could be seen in Messi’s assist against the Netherlands last week. There are numerous things Ronaldo does that Messi can’t, however, Messi would not have been able to see or performed the play.
The most striking difference could be physical. Messi is part of the history of Maradona and Puskas and Garrincha and Gerd Muller, footballers who looked like normal men until you handed them a ball and boots. Ronaldo as well as the top players of the future like Mbappe and Haaland is an athlete at the top of his game, an athlete with speed, ability that is as separated from the rest of us like Michael Phelps or Michael Jordan. This is why ageing is so much more difficult in the case of Ronaldo more than Messi.
From an Indian view, Messi’s character and career are most similar to no other player and not the legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s. The popular boy wonder who lived long enough to be the most beloved paterfamilias. He was a baby and small, yet amazingly coordinated and shockingly quick and powerful; not only a professional athlete, but a brand that was marketed to the smallest fraction of his time; and stepping onto the field every time, carrying an entire nation’s hope on his back. We saw their development in the public eye while their lifestyles were totally sports-related. In private, his teammates often remark that he had no other passions than cricket. similar to Messi however, he wasn’t offered the chance to grow any. Both have been referred to as “humble” but this is not true – they knew their power. In reality, what they do not have is the confidence, but rather insecurity.
It could be argued that Tendulkar had his weight in a million dreams, Messi merely 45 million. However, I’m not convinced that will make any difference in the way that people feel. Furthermore, football is anything is more important in Argentina than cricket is to India. Tendulkar was a part of and profited from the fastest ever period of Indian economic expansion. In the life of Messi, Argentina has lurched from one devastating crisis to the next. Cricket no longer plays the same compensation-for-national-suffering role in India that it once may have, and many more Indians than is generally credited have no interest in cricket. Tendulkar like Messi generally has escaped the age in which social media was a major factor. Sunil Gavaskar did not exert any of the same pressure on narratives like Maradona. He also did not have to face false charges of loyalty to Maradona.
Tendulkar did not need to win the World Cup to be loved. And, as of now is Messi. There is no accusation against him more for not being sufficiently Argentine. The Argentines have finally discovered they can conclude that “Messi or Maradona?” doesn’t require a debate. It has only one correct answer “Both”.
The winning of the World Cup will not end the Messi-Ronaldo argument, however. If Argentina are victorious this evening then Ronaldo’s Ronaldo camp will be able to find an entire suitcase of excuses. The way it’ll work is similar to what in 2011 the World Cup did for Sachin Tendulkar. When thinking about their future there will be no need to ask “What If?”