Maradona and Messi: Legend and Heir Apparent, Will They be at 2010 World Cup?

illya mclellanSenior Analyst IOctober 8, 2009

Diego Maradona has recently threatened to quit unless his "demands" are met in regards to coaching, etc.

This is becoming more of a sideshow by the day as the hero of his country's world cup history finds himself foundering like a fish out of water in his quest to take Argentina onto the biggest international stage.

Something that is no doubt worrying FIFA is the prospect of a tournament without Messi present.

No doubt it is worrying Messi as well.

Could we see this happen? At this stage it is looking quite likely, surprisingly enough, as the Argentinian side has looked less than convincing and really has to step up to the plate in their next two games if they wish to be at the tourney.

Away from Argentina's horrible WC qualifying campaign, Lio Messi seems to be going from strength to strength and is rightfully regarded as one of the world's premier players, if not the premier player.

In this respect it is remarkable that perhaps the best player in Argentina's distinguished football history, Maradona, is possibly going to sabotage the chances of the new great hope, Messi, for Argentina's first World Cup since Maradona inspired his side to the trophy in 1986.

Maradona could never fall from grace in the eyes of the Argentinian nation however, as he is revered to a staggering level and his worldwide appeal has not diminished even with his much publicised battles with drugs and incidents with paparazzi, etc.

The man was so good, that discrepancies are merely that, discrepancies, that pale in comparison to the gifts that Maradona gave to the world. He is without a doubt a legend of the game.

For Argentina his coaching record has been less than encouraging up to this point and it would be viewed as a national tragedy if they do not make South Africa and there will no doubt be much anger and frustration.

Not only in Argentina, but also the world over as Messi as a player and Argentina as a proud and prestigious footballing nation, engage the world football public like few things in football ever do.

Messi seems to be blessed with a certain humility and of course excellent ability, it is these two traits that make him stand out from the crop of egotistical big heads that grace the modern game.

Somewhat surprisingly, these traits are familiar in certain great names over the years, though somewhat amusingly, humility and Maradona are not two words you would see together often.

Apart from this glaring difference the two men played a similar game and though small in stature they were and are able to strike terror into the hearts of the biggest and strongest on the pitch.

This is of course one of the great appeals of football, the triumph of skill and finesse over brute strength. It is something that encourages the imagination to run wild, with images of nimble-footed maestros racing past physically intimidating opponents, like an accomplished matador outmaneuvering his four-footed adversary.

Messi is a player who plays for the love of it, as is seen in the immense enjoyment he gets out of the game, his smiling face is a common sight when watching his Barcelona side push aside all opponents in European and Spanish competition.

His skill and talent gives him a monstrous persona on the pitch which is amazing considering his size.

But with Argentina in a mess, it will be the duty of the man Messi, to clean up in the coming matches and to restore the reputation of one of his idols, Maradona, whilst easing the fears of a proud footballing nation.

The tragedy of a World Cup without Argentina could soon be upon us, it would not be the same without them and the world will watch with baited breath.