Lionel Messi said he hopes former Argentina great Diego Maradona is soon restored to full health, the day after scoring a goal similar to Maradona’s famous solo effort against England at the 1986 World Cup.
The 19-year-old Argentine collected the ball from inside his own half, dribbled past several Getafe defenders and the goalkeeper, before slotting the ball home from a narrow angle in a 5-2 semi-final first leg victory over Getafe in the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday.
The manner of the goal inevitably drew comparisons with Mardona’s solo goal 21 years ago, an effort regarded as the best goal ever scored at the World Cup.
“Diego has always backed me and I hope he gets well soon. The whole of Argentina wants him back well again because we miss him,” Messi said after the game.
Maradona is recovering in a Buenos Aires hospital from abdominal pains, and has recently been treated for hepatitis that doctors have linked to his heavy drinking.
“I saw the space and went for it as I always do. I saw Samuel (Eto’o) was in a good position to do a one-two as I neared the area but with two defenders nearby, so I took it on myself,” he continued.
The goal dominated the front page of Thursday’s sports newspapers. Barcelona-based daily Sport said ‘Messi Superstar’ on its front page while Marca led with ‘Messidona.’
Barca coach Frank Rijkaard described the move as a ‘work of art.’
Footage from both goals can be found here: