Messi in the Shadow of Maradona | Kwesé

Messi in the Shadow of Maradona

Messi in the Shadow of Maradona

14:00 SAST | 18 May 2018

Argentinians are a proud people. And they have much to be proud of. Their beautiful country dominates the southern half of South America, boasts a long coastline, excellent natural resources, a world-class city in Buenos Aires and a legacy of cultural achievement. The people, a mixture of Italian, Germany and Spanish immigrants, plus indigenous peoples, are handsome and expressive. Well...not all of them. It's rather ironic that the most famous Argentinian-Lionel Messi-is distinctly vanilla.

Read about the inscrutable Messi on Kwesé

Something tugs at the psyche of the 43 million inhabitants of the country. In the early 1900s Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world and Buenos Aires was a southern hemisphere equivalent of London, Paris and New York. It's still a splendid city and Argentina is still relatively well-off by world standards, but military coups, populist governments, divisive politics, poverty and inequality have had their troubling effects. Like it does in other countries, football helps Argentinians forget their challenges as they unite in supporting their team…or ripping them to pieces.

International Football Friendly: Argentina vs Haiti (30 May at 01:00 CAT)

As the FIFA World Cup gets closer so the pressure mounts on the world's most famous player, and probably the best, Lionel Messi. The disappointment of losing in four major finals, three Copa Americas and in the last FIFA World Cup, weighs on the nation. Lionel Messi feels those losses more than anyone and must now shoulder the nation's hopes as Russia 2018 rolls around. Argentina have won the trophy twice before, in 1978 and 1986. In 1978 they won as hosts, beating the Netherlands 3-1 in extra time in the final. In 1986 a 25-year-old Diego Maradona led Argentina to victory. And now Messi must do the same or forever carry the disappointment of not matching Maradona's achievement.  

Argentina vs Iceland (Kwesé FIFA Channel, 16 June at 15.00 CAT) s

Argentina vs Croatia (Kwesé Free Sports and Kwesé FIFA Channel, 21 June at 19.45 CAT) Nigeria vs Argentina (Kwesé Free Sports and Kwesé FIFA Channel, 26 June at 19.45 CAT)

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