Lionel Messi is the only Argentine to truly live up to being described as the next Diego Maradona so it was little surprise the Barcelona captain should dedicate his goal in Sunday’s 4-0 Liga win over Osasuna to his late compatriot, reports Reuters.
Argentina’s two iconic players may be contrasting characters but they shared many traits including a bond with Newell’s Old Boys and the Barca captain removed his shirt to reveal the red and black of the Rosario club before pointing to the sky.
Messi was born a year after Maradona captained Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 in Mexico but he was at Newell’s stadium as a fan in 1993 when Maradona made his debut for the club.
Messi’s goal on Sunday was striking in its similarity to one Maradona scored that day against Emelec, both players dribbling across the edge of the area before finding the top corner.
It was not the only time Messi imitated Maradona.
His solo effort against Getafe in 2007 was a carbon copy of Maradona’s second against England in the ’86 World Cup quarter-final also remembered for the Argentine’s “Hand of God” goal.
Sparked by a dance past two players near the halfway line, it was finished off with a dribble round the keeper and a slide to the ground as the ball trickled into the net.
That same season, Messi produced his own “Hand of God” moment by punching the ball into the net against Espanyol, prompting an Argentine commentator to yell: “That’s Maradona dressed up as Messi. He has been reincarnated.”
The two players also shared a low centre of gravity, incredible passing range and vision plus a magical left foot, although their characters often seemed worlds apart.