where was he at the age of Messi, genius or ghost addict?

Paris, June 2016. On the occasion of a match bringing together former glories of football, Diego Maradona slips to Pelé: “He’s a good person, but he doesn’t have a personality. He doesn’t have the personality to be a leader.” The player targeted by the Argentinian is his compatriot Lionel Messi. Between the two geniuses, it has always been “I love you neither.” If the six-time Barcelona Ballon d’Or remains discreet and measured on its elder, Maradona, he juggles between praise and tackles. A question of ego, no doubt. And the weariness of the inevitable comparisons: talent, position, Argentina, Barça, Maradona’s first European club …

But at a time when Diego Maradona blows his 60th birthday, this Friday, it is clear that the two careers, as legendary as they are, are diametrically opposed. As proof, at the age of Lionel Messi, that is to say 33 years old, the brilliant 1986 world champion was no more than a shadow of himself. If Messi went through his first zone of turbulence this year, Maradona had already experienced 1,000 in 1993 …

Seven years have passed since the triumph of number 10 at the Mexican World Cup. That year, Maradona played for Sevilla FC. After his legendary visit to Naples, a slow decline, a long suspension caused by a positive control for cocaine and an aborted transfer to OM, the legendary Argentine player hopes to revive with the club coached by Carlos Bilardo, the coach of Argentina crowned world champion in 1986.

Monchi under the spell

Monchi, a former Sevillian goalkeeper before becoming its sporting director, has not forgotten his arrival: “One evening, after eating, Carlos (Bilardo) took us all to a room and explained to us that From that day on, the team was going to be divided into two groups: Maradona on one side, us on the other, he told Jotdown. He would have habits and we would have others. “

If the integration of Maradona goes well, Monchi is no stranger to it. The “diva” not being able to step outside without being assailed by fans and journalists, Maradona decides to go out for a walk in the morning, at 8am. And it is Monchi who serves as his guide: “We have become friends.” One day, without special occasion, Maradona gave him a Cartier watch. The Argentinian had not forgotten this walk in Barcelona during which, intrigued by the luxury item, he had received as an answer from Monchi: “No Diego, it’s a fake, I have it. bought in Ibiza for 5,000 pesetas. ”

A disappointing record and a clash before leaving

What about in the field? Alongside another Diego, Simeone, the legend is clearly overweight. The lack of competition after almost two years without playing due to suspension is also felt. While Lionel Messi still regales at 33, he does it too rarely, even if it will be the case during the shock against Real Madrid. Blame it on painful knees and excesses of all kinds. His record is disappointing: 5 goals in 25 games. Sevilla FC concludes the season in 7th place in Liga.

The romance with Bilardo ends badly. On June 13, during a match against Burgos, the coach leaves the Argentinian who, furious, throws his armband, insulting him copiously. He leaves the stadium even before the end of the final whistle and announces to his wife that he is leaving Sevilla. He will not be the idol of Seville, as he had been in Naples. If he has since apologized to Bilardo, arguing the stress for his last match, he keeps his word and returns to his country. Head to Newell’s Old Boys. A failed return, Diego Maradona being more than ever consumed by his addiction to drugs and more able to play at a high level because of his extra pounds. At 33, he is a finished player. Has been. His hours of glory and his titles are a thing of the past. From the 80s. Lionel Messi, he can always dream of a seventh Ballon d’Or …

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