When Lionel Messi replicated Diego Maradona’s ‘Goal of the Century’ – a look back

Lionel Messi, perhaps to his own detriment, is often defined by number The number of goals he scored The problem with focusing on the numbers, of course, is that it probably never tells the whole story. While no one is denying the importance of statistics, focusing only on one player’s numbers does a disservice to the actual game itself. It certainly is, because there are many things that cannot be quantified. In that sense, sometimes it helps to admire the talent rather than just looking at the numbers. Of course, in Messi’s case, the number of magical moments he has created could probably fill a book. Still, each moment of magic has its own wonderful context and brilliance.

As Lionel Messi turns 34, we look back at the time he practically recreated the iconic ‘Goal of the Century’ scored by Diego Maradona.

striking resemblance

Of course, it is worth noting that Messi and Maradona have been compared ever since Messi emerged as a force to be reckoned with. The parallels are clear. Both are short, left-footed and have low centers of gravity. With silky dribbling and a clinical touch in front of goal the two mesmerized fans and defenders alike.

And Messi has flourished to such an extent that he is now seen as the most talented player in the country after Maradona himself.

And on 18 April, he would score a goal that fans compared to the one scored by El Diego against England in 1986.

The match was a Copa del Rey semi-final against Getafe, a match Barça would win 5–2. Barcelona were leading 1-0 in the game when Messi produced his moment of magic that stunned the spectators.

He received the ball from Xavi and seemed to pose no immediate threat to the Getafe defense as he was in his own half. But he took the ball and ran about 66 yards and beat 5 defenders in the process.

Then, with only the goalkeeper to beat, he rounded him and finished at an angle with his right foot.

The similarity between the two goals is clear. Both Maradona and Messi had to beat 5 defenders and the goalkeeper before scoring. Both also finished with their right foot, a remarkable fact considering how normally one-footed both are.

The only thing missing from Messi’s finish was a defender trying to make a last ditch tackle and then booting him from behind in the process!

Lionel Messi vs Diego Maradona – A Comparison

As we’ve established so far, both Messi and Maradona are remarkably similar players. Yet where they differ is how much silverware they have won and how they are perceived by Argentine fans.

Maradona, though a deeply flawed man, still retains the undying love of the Argentine people. It helped, of course, that he won the World Cup for them in 1986 and took them to the final in 1990.

Messi, in contrast, has not won a single international trophy of note with Argentina. He took them to the World Cup final in 2014 and three Copa America finals. But he has not won a senior trophy with the national team.

Perhaps the most remembered of those Copa America finals will be the 2017 final. They lost the match to Chile on penalty shootout. Messi, who missed his own spot kick, retired after the match.

Although he returned to the national side shortly thereafter, a lack of success continued to plague the national side.

Another reason why Maradona is more loved is probably his personality. Maradona’s extroverted and ostentatious public image endeared him to the general public.

Messi, a shy and reserved figure whose life has lacked the controversy of Diego, is little known for his exploits off the field.

It is also true that Messi did not play any senior football in Argentina. Signed by Barcelona in his teens, he progressed through their youth team and into the senior team. And while one could argue that this is an unfair comparison, it plays a part in Maradona being the more endearing of the two.

Nevertheless, when Maradona himself said that Messi is a player who reminds him of himself, it is easy to see why the two will always be compared.

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