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2. THE GOLAZO: 'Long Live Soccer! Long Live Leo!
April 20th, 2007 2:48AM



The incredible goal scored by 19-year-old Argentine Lionel Messi for Barcelona on Wednesday has even the pro-Real Madrid press expressing the highest praise. "I feel like crying. Holy Christ! Long Live Soccer! Long Live Leo!" exclaimed one reporter.

The Guardian's Sid Lowe, who tracked Spanish reaction to the goal that mirrored Diego Mardona's effort against England at the 1986 World Cup, reported that the Catalan daily Sport ran a large mug shot of Messi with a caption reading, "If you want to disguise yourself as God, simply cut this out and put it on."

Like Maradona, Messi started in his own half and beat five men before leaping past a sixth. Marca's headline was, "Messidona." The Goal was Messi's first of two in a 5-2 win over Getafe in a first-leg Spanish Cup semifinal.

Praise and astonishment were universal, except for Getafe's coach, the German Bernd Schuster, who would have preferred that his players cheated to prevent such a wonderful effort: "We should have fouled him, he can't be allowed to reach the area like that."

Messi said he could "never be compared" to Maradona, but agreed the goal was similar to the Maradona's.

Click HERE for video of Messi's goal.

Click HERE for video for Maradona's goal against England in 1986.

Click HERE for a photo sequence of Messi's incredible run.

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