AMERICAN THINKER - Monica Showalter - DEC 19, 2022
Having gotten introduced to soccer through Argentina, I've always had a soft spot for the Argentinian team and its utterly passionate fans. If you've ever watched a soccer game with them, and I have, rest assured they are screaming, contortingly passionate about its outcome all the time.
They put on quite a show when Argentina won the FIFA World Cup final Sunday, their first victory in 35 years, with their captain, Lionel Messi, considered an old guy at 35, who played the best soccer of his life. They call it "the beautiful game" and Messi made it a thing of beauty, as did his excellent younger team mates and their very impressive manager.
Boston.com has some good pictures here:
Who was Argentina's GOAT before this? None other than Diego Maradona, an object of legend in Argentina, based on his 1986 handball victory in the World Cup in Mexico City. Maradona may have played pretty good soccer and made the soccer-mad Argentinians proud, but in time he revealed having a lot of baggage -- drug use, anti-Americanism, dictator-worship (Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez), and horrible scandals. He was a sad, sorry, creature in the end and died early from the wear and tear of his own bad decisions.
Well, he was their hero then, because he was all they had, but now they've got Messi whose accomplishments are significantly greater.
Messi's a stellar player, a fine religious man, a humble person, and someone who's never done drugs, made offensive public statements, let alone anti-American ones. Messi's a much more fitting hero for the soccer-mad nation to hail and emulate than Maradona ever was. And he didn't cheat to win his spectacular victory against the very worthy and formidable opponent, France. He and his excellent team won a hard-fought game.
Battered Venezuelans, for one, were cheering Messi for this very reason:
There still are die-hard Maradona fans in Argentina, and I saw several references to Maradona in the crowds, and even Messi may have paid some kind of tribute to Maradona during the game.
But the victory now is the bigger one than Maradona's, and there is no controversy. Messi has effectively toppled Maradona as the greatest of all time.
Result? Argentina finally has a hero that is worthy of their respect and honor.
Good job, Messi, and reason for everyone, actually, to cheer.