A new narrative has been pushed after Argentina’s early exit from the world cup, that Maradona had the support of his teammates, Messi did not.
Football is a team game, therefore one man alone cannot win it. But saying that, one man can always outperform others and motivate the entire team.
Therefore, Messi and Maradona’s teams need a careful analysis.
Maradona, in 1986, was well supported by his teammates like:
1. Nery Pumpido, trustworthy goalkeeper played in River Plate.
2. Valdona, the noteworthy attacking midfielder played for Real Madrid for 3 years.
3. Oscar Ruggeri a trusted defender who played for River Plate and Boka Juniors.
4. Ricardo Giusti, an attacking midfielder.
5. Julio Olarticoechea, safe defender played in River Plate.
6. José Luis Cuciuffo, another trusted Defender who played in Boca Juniors.
7. Buruchagga noteworthy center forward who scored in the finals of 1986.
The Argentine team in 1986 was well supported by its defense and goalkeeper. The team conceded 5 goals in total 2 of them were from set pieces.
Similar to 1986, 2014 Argentine team owed a lot to Sergio Romero and the defensive line for some excellent show. That eventually helped them to the finals.
Argentina, in World Cup 1986, scored a total of 14 goals. Maradona himself scored 5 and assisted 5 more. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Maradona played a pivotal role in 1986.
Messi’s team consists of :
1. Paulo Dybala striker from Juventus.
2. Sergio Agüero another center forward who played for Manchester City.
3. Gonzalo Higuaín attacking midfielder and center forward who has started in River Plat, Real Madrid, Juventus.
4. Javier Mascherano star midfielder who has played in Liverpool and Barcelona.
5. Ángel Di María, noteworthy midfielder who has played in Real Madrid, Man United and PSG.
6. Marcos Rojo. star defender playing for Man United.
Messi vs Maradona World Cup Statistics
Messi had scored 6 goals in 4 world cup. Nigeria is the strongest team, Messi ever has scored against. Messi never scored against a world cup winning team. Nor did Messi ever scored outside group league.
Maradona scored 8 goals from 4 world cup. Using banned, addictive products saw Maradona expelled from 1994 world cup campaign after 2 matches. Maradona has scored against England, Italy, Hungary, Belgium.
His goal against England is regarded as the best of the century. Where he collected the ball in his own half ran pass 5-6 English players to score.
Therefore, we can see Maradona had scored against better opponents and he was instrumental behind teams success.
Roles played for the team Messi and Maradona.
Both Messi and Maradona played in similar positions, as an Attacking midfielder or second striker. But in 1986 and 90 Argentina built its passes from counter attacks. Maradona used to collect the balls outside his own box and would run yards and deliver a final pass. Therefore Maradona had the lion share of Argentina’s ball possession.
From 2002 onwards Argentina plays a different style. They play short passes among themselves and build on those passes. And tries to penetrate in the opponent box.
Consequently, the main attacking role is vested in Messi. He tries to build by playing passes with his teammates and then deliver it in the opponent box. But of late he has been overcrowded by the opponent.
Football is not a one-man show. Therefore no one can win or lose by himself. But while Maradona never had Real Madrid Barcelona Juventus United players crowding his team, which Messi had consequently bigger names playing with him.
Maradona, therefore, created a formidable side with mediocre individuals playing for Boca Juniors, River Plate. But Messi, in contrast, seems like has the big names playing with him. Therefore, if the narrative is being used that Messi does not have enough support, certainly the leadership has to be questioned.
Argentina’s loss is certainly not Messi’s fault alone. But consequently, Messi is collectively responsible.
Messi undoubtedly is one of the best in the present generation. But as a result of above-mentioned circumstances, it’s hard to regard him as Greatest of All Time( GOAT ).