[VIDEO PICK: La Pulga]These next 12 months are crucial for Lionel Messi’s legacy, and Argentina’s lamentable decision to have Diego Maradona coach its national team at South Africa 2010 means Brazil 2014 may be Leo’s only chance to win a World Cup while he’s at his peak.
Last season was the ninth at Barcelona for the 26-year-old Messi, who made his La Liga debut in October 2004, at 17.
Messi’s thigh strain finds him doubtful for Barca’s La Liga opener on Sunday, and it would be a brave fan who wagered him leading Argentina at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be playing at his current level.
Messi is rightfully admired for his sportsmanship, tenacity and toughness, but the truth is Leo’s nobility has probably shortened his career – and soccer is a young man’s game.
But hope can be found in a surprising source: Maradona. Born in 1960, Diego’s strict diet and regimen helped him lead Argentina to the 1990 Word Cup final and win South American Player of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 1992.
And who among us is brazen enough to tell Lionel Messi when and what he can’t do on a soccer field?
Although today’s fascinating clip makes it clear, there’s one thing Messi never learned how to do --- take a dive…