Argentina Can’t Handle Germany, Messi is Not Maradona

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — Argentina and Germany met at the World Cup final for the second time in 24 years and the outcome was the same: Germany came out victorious thanks to another heartbreaking goal. It may be too early to affirm that the Teutons have become the nemesis of the gauchos, or perhaps not. The South American nation’s most recent victory over the Mannstchaft took place in 1986.

In any event, Argentina’s team exceeded all predictions, reaching the final thanks to its unexpectedly rigorous defense, something which made up for the shortcomings of the forwards (made up of such renowned figures as Higuain, Messi, Di Maria and Aguero).

Once again, we bore witness to the lack of leadership of the player that most experts – and aficionados – consider the best in the world. Is it true? In my opinion, he lacks an extremely important element: character, the ability to remain afloat in the most difficult moments, as his predecessor in the selection, the talented Maradona, did.

After the Portuguese – a team I’ve been following since the days of the legendary Luis Figo – had been eliminated at the Cup, I focused my attention on Argentina’s performance. Even though I admire the German team a lot, there is something in me that always makes me want to root for those from your stomping grounds (or continent, as the case may be).

I confess I had hoped Messi would show us at least one of his brilliant moves, the kind we see every day at the Barcelona Football Club…but I was let down.

I hope no one will now dare mention his name when people begin to debate about who is the best soccer player in history. It’s not that I feel resentment, quite the opposite. That said, Messi is still young, he may have one or two more chances with the team and the opportunity to redeem himself.

Once again, soccer has taught us three things: it is a team effort and, as such, stars only help if the team works with them; leading a team requires heart, and the coach contributes to the results to a significant degree (Sabella is to be congratulated for his contribution).

I want to congratulate Germany for its competence, seriousness and consistency, and for having exactly what Leonel Messi does not yet have: the mentality of champions.


osmel

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

5 thoughts on “Argentina Can’t Handle Germany, Messi is Not Maradona

  • I am not arguing that international trophies “don’t matter”, if I did then yes a double standard would exist. My point is that there is much more to a players career than one moment, and if you needed a token win in a one-off game or final to decide how good he is, you are judging him by the wrong standards – lets not forget finals in London and Rome which were both dominated by Messi’s brilliance. Comparing players from different generations is inherently fraught with problems, and a world cup winners medal should – quite rightly – serve to strengthen supporters of Maradona or Pele. Just as the three champions leagues, two club world cups, four ballon d’Or trophies, three european golden shoes, one olympic gold medal, six winners medals from one of the top three leagues in the world, countless additional cups and super cups, and over 400 goals for club and country count in Messi’s favour.

    Despite not winning the world cup, Messi undoubtedly performed and played a pivotal role in Argentinas route to the final, and few could dispute that his achievements and consistency at club level supersede Maradona’s. As for “who is the more magical player in terms of skill”, the answer is entirely subjective, I would argue Messi.

  • it is double standard when messi’s supporters give him so much (if not excessive) credit for his club trophies but say “it doesnt matter” when it comes to an international trophy. If we dont count any trophy altogether, then ask yourself “who is the more magical player in terms of skill?” The answer has to be maradona0

  • The World Cup final was a fascinating and closely fought game between two great teams. The German strategy was to tie up Messi, and to that end they had two or three players mark Messi every time he had the ball. Even a player as great as the Argentine ace can do little when covered so effectively.

    Even so, the game could have gone either way. Argentina had several good chances to put the game aaa, but inexplicably missed the net.

    One can argue endlessly who is the greatest football player ever, Maradona or Messi, but they each played in different eras against different teams. In the end there is no way to really decide. However, if the question is one of character, then Messi is head and shoulders above Maradona. The younger man’s decency, humility and charity are well known, while the elder’s self-indulgence, arrogance and immorality are legendary.

  • “I
    hope no one will now dare mention his name when people begin to debate about
    who is the best soccer player in history” … Despite the fact Messi scored
    4 goals in the group stages, provided THE DECISIVE assist for Di Maria against
    Switzerland in the knockout stages, stepped up to score his penalty first
    against Holland in the semi-final, which I would argue is a clear display of
    the CHARACTER you insist is lacking, created more chances than ANY other player
    in the tournament, and finally, following Argentina’s defeat to Germany is the
    recipient of the Golden Ball Award for the player of the tournament, you
    suggest Messi needs to “redeem himself”. For the sake of argument I
    will ignore the countless personal records and accolades (including 4 successive
    ballon d’or awards) he has accumulated over his career which comfortably
    surpasses anything reciprocated by modern-day or past counterparts – YES even
    Maradona! with the obvious exception of a world cup winners medal.

    Forget ALL of that … your
    suggestion that winning the world cup is a prerequisite for any player – never
    mind one of Messi’s calibre – in order to be even considered as the best soccer
    player in history is fundamentally wrong. What happens to players from small
    countries that have no realistic chance of winning the world cup? By your logic
    they will never achieve “greatness” regardless of how gifted they may
    be. Finally, you pin the eligibility of Messi’s consideration alongside past
    greats on the outcome of one match, which is extremely short-minded and
    farcical. Lets presume Higuain scores THAT chance and Argentina win 1-0.. are
    we having this debate? Is Messi the greatest ever all of a sudden? Did Maradona
    score in the final of the 1986 world cup? – no. Football is a game of margins,
    imperfections and above all, the team. On this occasion Germany prevailed in
    what was a tightly fought contest, scoring 4 minutes before penalty kicks. I
    can, however, assure you, discussions about the greatest player of all time
    included Messi prior to this world cup and will continue to include him long
    after it. Geniuses stand the test of time because of what they did achieve and
    how they were able to shape football in their respective generations, NOT
    omitted from a debate because they were once part of a team that lost 1-0 in a
    world cup final. Logic will prevail.

  • “I hope no one will now dare mention his name when people begin to debate about who is the best soccer player in history” … Despite the fact Messi scored 4 goals in the group stages, provided THE DECISIVE assist for Di Maria against Switzerland in the knockout stages, stepped up to score his penalty first against Holland in the semi-final, which I would argue is a clear display of the CHARACTER you insist is lacking, created more chances than ANY other player in the tournament, and finally, following Argentina’s defeat to Germany is the recipient of the Golden Ball Award for the player of the tournament, you suggest Messi needs to “redeem himself”. For the sake of argument I will ignore the countless personal records and accolades (including 4 successive ballon d’or awards) he has accumulated over his career which comfortably surpasses anything reciprocated by modern-day or past counterparts – YES even Maradona! with the obvious exception of a world cup winners medal.

    Forget ALL of that … your suggestion that winning the world cup is a prerequisite for any player – never mind one of Messi’s calibre – in order to be even considered as the best soccer player in history is fundamentally wrong. What happens to players from small countries that have no realistic chance of winning the world cup? By your logic they will never achieve “greatness” regardless of how gifted they may be. Finally, you pin the eligibility of Messi’s consideration alongside past greats on the outcome of one match, which is extremely short-minded and farcical. Lets presume Higuain scores THAT chance and Argentina win 1-0.. are we having this debate? Is Messi the greatest ever all of a sudden? Did Maradona score in the final of the 1986 world cup? – no. Football is a game of margins, imperfections and above all, the team. On this occasion Germany prevailed in what was a tightly fought contest, scoring 4 minutes before penalty kicks. I can, however, assure you, discussions about the greatest player of all time included Messi prior to this world cup and will continue to include him long after it. Geniuses stand the test of time because of what they did achieve and how they were able to shape football in their respective generations, NOT omitted from a debate because they were once part of a team that lost 1-0 in a world cup final. Logic will prevail.

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