Messi or Maradona? Comparison is useless and impossible

It depends on the generations, the tastes, the approach with which football is viewed

Messi or Maradona? The World Cup final in Qatar, and Argentina’s victory led by Leo Messi, re-propose a confrontation that fascinates and divides those who love and know football and even those who comment on it only from hearsay. Who is the greatest? The question, which in sport often becomes an obsession, will never find a single answer. The comparison, as well as essentially useless, is also impossible. It depends on the generations, the tastes, the approach with which football is seen.

Since yesterday, surely, the numbers have changed. If until yesterday Maradona had won a World Cup on his own, that of 1986, and Messi had not yet been able to do it, from today Messi has reached Maradona. At this point, he has also won a lot more, adding up the national team, club teams and personal honors. He also certainly played more, with more continuity. So does he mean that Messi is bigger than everyone, even the greatest ever? Everyone can answer as he wants. Also because it changes little.

Each answer will always be personal, and therefore questionable, because football is not science and it is not just numbers. Football is above all emotions, those that a play, from Messi or Maradona or another, can give, and feelings, those that bind a fan to his team and his heroes. Emotions and feelings are not linear and, fortunately, they can also care less about the numbers. Yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever, there will be those who only see Diego and those who prefer Lionel. Just as soon there will be those who will solve the problem by betting everything on Kylian Mbappè.

For decades the equally improbable confrontation was between Pele and Maradona. Even in that case, a different football, different historical eras, and a division almost always linked to personal data, the one that selects memories and emotions based on experience. Then, when Messi became Messi, the ballon d’or rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo ignited. They too are different but at least contemporary. Well, on this level, today the comparison no longer holds. Because Messi won his World Cup and Cristiano Ronaldo will never be able to reach it. The circle closes, we are back to the numbers. But we can start again, because a Portuguese child can cry for CR7, an Inter player doesn’t forget Ronaldo ‘il Phenomenon’, a Juventus player Platini or Del Piero, a Romanist can regret Daniele De Rossi even more than Francesco Totti and have few memories of Falcao. Because football belongs to everyone and everyone can live it as they please. Although since yesterday, objectively, Messi has reached Maradona. (by Fabio Insenga)