Messi's career trajectory potentially higher than Maradona's
"Messi is the best in the world in the national team and in Barcelona and he knows it," ex-national teammate Riquelme said last week in Pagina 12. "The difference is that [in Barcelona] there are always five or six options of passes to him, which makes him impossible to mark."
The tactical analysis of Barcelona's system has been a hot topic with newly appointed River Plate manager Angel Cappa who is known as "Tiki Tiki" for the high regard in which he holds a game of many touches and passes. "He [Messi] has Argentine roots but is a universal player. Like [Jorge Luis] Borges, he transcends the barriers of nationality" Cappa said in El Comericio, adding that the Barcelona team works in harmony. "No one is the conductor, they all play one or two touches. They all share the same football philosophy and Messi adds his brilliance."
There followed another splendid Messi performance, including an early goal, against Barcelona's archrivals and close contenders for first place in La Liga, Real Madrid. Headlines said that Messie was "Out of This Planet" and that he had "Eclipsed Cristiano Ronaldo"
The greats started chiming in. "First they have to decide who is the best Argentinean," Pele said. "And then they will have to score 1,000 goals before they can be compared to me." Added Johan Cruyff : "Pele was a hero, so was I. Now it's [Messi's] turn."
Mario Kempes, Golden Boot and World Cup winner for Argentina in 1978, has characteristically been the voice of reason. "He's a human being, a football player. Anyone can shadow him, mark him, or stop him" said Kempes to EFE. "What he has achieved with Barcelona this season is remarkable, but he still seeks the cherry on the cake which would be the World Cup." Kempes went on to stress the importance of team work, saying Messi cannot do this alone: "A squad is made up of a group of players, and it's the group that has to take the team forward. This is something Maradona will have to work on."
That's why the onus is now on Maradona to shift whatever needs shifting within his star-studded squad and to ensure that he finds the right players to deliver those perfect passes to Messi. Maradona needs to inspire the talented Argentinian team to rise and match Messi's own absurdly high standard. So maybe the real question of the World Cup is: Can Maradona the manager be good enough to let Messi shine?