Messi Fuels Argentina’s Dream Of A Third World Cup Title
By Dialogo January 08, 2009Any time Leo Messi displays his enormous talent on the field, the Argentinians’ dream of winning their third World Cup title seems closer to reality. In support of Leo Messi’s brilliance, the “albiceleste" fans prepare their drums and cheer chants aimed at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. With Diego Armando Maradona in the audience, Messi did his latest stellar performance on Tuesday at the Vicente Calderon Stadium when he scored two goals for his team, Barcelona, leading them to a 3-1 win against the locals, in the final round of the Copa del Rey. The performance of the soccer player, who is in his twenties, received a great deal of acclaim in the media. When the “future king”, as Maradona calls Messi, was leaving the field, the fans from Atletico Madrid cheered his name the same way they do when their idol, Sergio “Kun” Agüero, displays his high quality soccer technique. However, on Tuesday, “Kun” was unable to play despite Maradona being in attendance. Nobody in Argentina believes in any sort of rivalry between the two young talents. Messi is considered a first-team player in Maradona's opinion and “Kun” will have to fight for a spot with other forwards. The leadership of Messi’s is now indisputable. The Argentinians remember Maradona’s outstanding performance in the 1986 World Cup, and are looking for similarities. If Messi continues excelling his form, the title in the final, on July 11th at the Soccer City of Johannesburg, is in reach . Is it too much responsibility for a soccer player, who in the World Cup will only be 23 years-old, to carry on not only the load of the team, but to also live up to the demanding history of Argentine soccer? Maradona was 25 when he won the title in 1986. When he was 17, he wanted to be part of Argentina’s World Cup in 1978; however, César Luis Menotti gave him one of the worst blows of his career when he did not name him and the national team won its first title. At the age of 21, he played in the 1982 World Cup, but Argentina was defeated by Italy and Brazil in the second round. Comparing similar cases, Pelé lived through glory of his first world title in Sweden in 1958, when he was 17. Brazil defeated the host nation 5-2. Two of the goals were scored by Pelé; the first one being an amazing combination of “a flip kick” and volley, which paved his way to success. Messi made his debut in the 2006 World Cup on June 16th in Germany, eight days before turning 19. It was an explosive debut. He assisted in Hernán Crespo’s goal and scored another one in defeating Serbia 6-0. He played as first-team player against the Netherlands (0-0) with both squads already qualified for the round of 16. In the game against Mexico, Messi came on in the 83rd minute but was left on the bench during the quarter-finals match against Germany. Argentina lost on penalties. José Pekerman, coach of the team at that time, must have thought that being so young and small, Messi would not be able to battle against the tall and well-built teutons. The extraordinary moves that the Barcelona player has been performing since then, his amazing goals and the inability that rival defenders have to anticipate his swift dashes towards the goal make it clear that Maradona won’t have Pekerman’s doubts. Maradona insists on taking care of the young talent. Take care of him as if he is gold, the gold cloth that wraps Johannesburg's soil and the title that Argentinians hope to win on July 11th, 2010, with the help of the soccer player who is outstanding on the field and private outside of it.