The same genius on the ball, characters at the antipodes. Diego Maradona had a dotted relationship with his compatriot Lionel Messi punctuated by fierce criticism of his more youthful sibling.

Small (1.69 m for Messi, 1.66 for Maradona), left-handed, genius dribblers, world champions under 20, and very quickly number 10 of the Argentine selection. The contrast with Maradona emerged from the very first accomplishments of the “Pulga” with FC Barcelona.

The mimicry stands out when during an incomparable Copa del Rey match in 2007, Messi reproduces point by point the wonderful flight of Maradona in the quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup, an anthology match versus England which he spent in evaluation of gamers changed into training plots before adjusting Peter Shilton.

The contrast began very early. Messi is still only a very promising child when, on Argentinian television, his daddy informs in the existence of Maradona how the shy striker of Rosario with long hair watched, as a child, the exploits of the “Pibe de Oro” on a tape.

And quickly, as the smart Messi stacks the goals, the Golden Balls and the titles at Barça, the club of his life, the Argentina that he left as a teen starts to question if he is not going to dated his elder and his excesses of all kinds.

Inadequate to interrupt, in the beginning, the relationship in between the two.

During his tenure as Argentina coach (2008-2010), Maradona conveniences Messi as an indisputable holder of the Albiceleste, makes him deal with his totally free kicks in training, and in public avoids questions about the sterile however passionate dispute that divides Argentines: who is better of the 2?

– “Is he Argentinian or Swedish?” –

” You will never make me say a word versus Messi,” swears Maradona hand on heart in 2012.

However as the years pass, “Diego” is more acerbic towards “Leo”, not thinking twice to push where it hurts: on Messi’s failures with the national group, which are cringe in Argentina.

Because unlike Maradona, deemed to have actually won the World Cup-1986 “on his own”, Messi has lost 3 finals in 3 years with the Albiceleste (Mondial-2014, Copa América 2015 and 2016), snuffing out each time in definitive encounters, such as against France at the last World Cup in Russia (4-3 defeat).

” It makes good sense to encounter him, it’s simple. We have the very best gamer on the planet, who can score 4 goals versus Real Sociedad, he comes here and does not touch the ball. At one point, you wonder: but damn, he is Argentinian or Swedish? “, the volcanic” Diez “gets carried away after the last of the Copa América 2015, lost versus Chile.

And he wound up hitting him low on the set of a Mexican program in 2018, accusing him of doing not have character.

” It is ineffective to wish to make an employer of a male who goes to the bathroom 20 times prior to a video game”, glosses Maradona, adding that off the field, the Pulga chooses “to play the Playstation instead of talk with the gamers”.

A month later, he will reject having actually slammed him and will shower him with appreciation again … “Me, Messi, I like him!”