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What's Your Preference, Messi or Van Nistelrooy?

Phil Ball of ESPN Soccernet takes his usual look back at the week that was in Spain, dominated, he points out, by two stunning goals of very different quality. And they just so happened to be produced by the two most dominant teams in the land: Barcelona and Real Madrid. By now-nearly a week after the fact-you've surely seen a replay of Leo Messi imitating his hero, Diego Maradona, against Getafe. Given the pace at which he beat four Getafe players (and the goalkeeper), it may have been better than Maradona's goal against England in 1986, though few would argue that the Copa del Rey semifinals pale in significance to the World Cup quarterfinals. Taken out of that context, Messi's goal would still go down on the shortlist of all-time greatest goals; indeed, it was all the Spanish press could talk about last week-until Ruud Van Nistelrooy's goal against Valencia on Saturday.

Ball says Van Nistelrooy's effort, a superb finish to a classic team move, is every bit as good (video). Or maybe the Madrid press was just sick of the endless praise being lavished on a Barcelona player. Either way, the debate is on: die-hard Madrilenos argue that Madrid's goal is better because it involved nine players and a series of 13 one-touch passes topped off with a fantastic one-touch volley by Van Nistelrooy. Barca fans contend that Messi's is the kind of individual goal that's less likely to be repeated again; after all, Maradona scored his goal nearly 21 years ago now. Of course, none of these matters to neutrals, we're just enjoying it.

Read the whole story at ESPN Soccernet »

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